Are Japanese Officials Losing the Fight for Public Trust?

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BY CHRISTINE SLUSSER ANCHOR Megan Murphy You're watching multisource world news analysis from Newsy Wi...
BY CHRISTINE SLUSSER ANCHOR Megan Murphy You're watching multisource world news analysis from Newsy With fears of a catastrophic melt-down still resonating and the discovery of plutonium now hitting headlines -- media outlets wonder -- is the Japanese government doing all it can to battle its nuclear crisis? “Highly radioactive water has been found for the first time outside one of the reactor buildings at the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant, adding to the mounting problems, officials have also detected plutonium in the soil at the plant.” (Video: Times Now) The Japanese government itself -- continues to insist -- there’s nothing to fear. “Officials insist the plutonium does not pose a health threat. In fact, some of it is decades-old residue from nuclear weapons testing. The latest setbacks are fueling a collapse of confidence in the government’s handling of the nuclear crisis.” (Video: CBS) The New York Post says Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant managers are downplaying the discovery of plutonium. “Plutonium breaks down very slowly and can remain dangerously radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. The plutonium discovery, from samples taken a week ago, was the latest in a string of sky-is-falling updates that has put Japan and much of the world on edge.” A Japanese government spokesman calls the situation a “delicate balancing act” - as workers try to cool overheating reactors, but at the same time contaminate the water. In an article in The Guardian, a nuclear safety expert says, the Japanese government is sending out mixed signals. "What is fundamentally disturbing the public is reports of drinking water one day being above some limit, and then a day or two later it's suddenly safe to drink. People don't know if the first instance was alarmist or whether the second one was untrue...” Japan’s Prime Minister has put the country on “maximum alert”. MSNBC reports hopes are fading. “It’s hard because a workable solution to get control of the reactors has yet to be reached. The government spokesman simply called it a delicate balancing act, but offered little in the way of any new plan to attack the problem.” ...but the Financial Post argues the simple fear of radiation can be more damaging than the radiation itself--and reports harm in small doses is just a theory, while harm from fear is proven. “The incalculable harm that came of the panic that accompanied Chernobyl cannot be undone. Some 336,000 people in the vicinity of Chernobyl were evacuated from their homes and workplaces, most of them becoming impoverished as a result ... with an epidemic of afflictions among the evacuees that included depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse, terminations of wanted pregnancies, and suicides.” Japan’s Prime Minister says the situation is still quote “unpredictable”. Follow Newsy_Videos on Twitter Get more multisource video news analysis from Newsy Transcript by Newsy