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Japan: Grace in the Ruins

Re TIME's cover package on Japan [March 28]: As a young Air Force officer stationed at Misawa Air Base, I went through Japan's 8.2 magnitude quake of 1968. Our base was badly damaged, and we went days without power or heat or water. Our military discipline and personal resolve saw us through our crisis. Also inspiring were our Japanese neighbors in Misawa City and northern Honshu. First they endured, and then they recovered. I have no doubt that Japan will be rebuilt in far less time than we can imagine now. Because in Japan, it's not about "me" but about "us."


I counted 25 pages of insightful reporting and tear-inducing photography on Japan's recent miseries--and you couldn't provide one map? Your readers had no readily accessible graphic from which to draw a deeper understanding of the disasters on the island nation that invented the word tsunami.

Joanne Fitzpatrick, READING, MASS.

It is difficult to understand how Michael Grunwald, in his fairly balanced discussion in "The Real Cost of Nuclear Power," can include these sentences together: "The industry's defenders may ignore Fukushima Daiichi, but the industry will not. It's serious about public safety ..." and "... in 2003 industry lobbyists beat back an [NRC] recommendation for new [rules] designed to prevent the hydrogen explosions that are now all over the news."

Laurence E. Thomson, RICHMOND, VT.

No doubt the events in Japan are serious, but as with the Three Mile Island accident, the media are pitching sensationalism rather than facts. Despite the catastrophic severity of simultaneous natural events, the Fukushima reactors' safety systems and containment structures performed as they were designed to perform. I worked in reactor safety and design at a Department of Energy national laboratory for many years. I am certain that nuclear fission is the only energy source we have (or will have for quite some time) that is capable of ending our dependence on foreign oil. I hope my grandchildren will see it in their lifetimes.


Despite emotions and a few high-profile accidents, nuclear power has a relatively good production and safety record to build upon. Society should learn and prudently act on accidents and not run from intelligent use of technology.

Edwin Swanson, SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.

What's Next in the Mideast

Re Joe Klein's "Washington's Policy Sandstorm" column on Libya and Egypt [March 28]: The billion-dollar question is whether the change people are fighting for will eventually give way to religious fundamentalism. It is one thing to overthrow dictators. It is another to make sure democracy is installed.


Bright Ideas

What a lift I got from your 12 pages of reasons to have hope for the world ["The 10 Ideas That Will Change the World--for the Better," March 28]. Thank you.

Carol Williams, INDIAN LAND, S.C.

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