Saturday, May 28, 2011


May 12, 2011

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The following is a translation of the Henshu Techo column from The Yomiuri Shimbun's May 12 issue.

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British nurse Florence Nightingale, known as an "angel in white," seems to have been annoyed by bureaucracy.

At a hospital for soldiers wounded in the Crimean War, meat for patients' rations was weighed with the bones included, and some patients' meals consisted almost entirely of bones. When Nightingale suggested the meat be measured without bones, the army responded by saying new rules would be needed to exclude bones from meat.

The incident is recounted in "Otona no tame no Ijinden" (Stories of great figures for adults) by Buichi Kihara, part of the Shincho Sensho series from Shinchosha Publishing Co.

The seeds of bureaucracy are unlikely to disappear from the world. I felt like I could hear Nightingale sighing on her May 12 birthday.

Some residents evacuated from Kawauchimura, Fukushima Prefecture, were allowed to make two-hour visits to their homes in the no-entry zone that was set because of the nuclear crisis. Before the brief visits, they reportedly were asked by the government to sign a letter of consent stating, "I enter on my own responsibility." Why was signing such a document necessary? It is only natural that residents voiced disgust over the procedure, saying it made them feel they were being treated coldly.

Nightingale said an angel is not someone who scatters beautiful flowers but one who fights for people who are suffering. We must not cause further misery for those already in distress.

(May. 16, 2011)

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