By contrast when hundreds of Japanese technicians chose to stay at the Fukushima nuclear plant after the 2011 tsunami they struggled at great risk to themselves to save a large portion of Japan from nuclear contamination. It was an act of genuine heroism and altruism, but these men live today in obscurity, stigmatized by their association with a company that many Japanese blame for the radiation hazard that befell them when the plant was damaged.
Even so, but for their selfless sacrifice the damage would have been far worse.
The Guardian UK has their story. Here's part of it:
Almost two years after the tsunami, the men who stayed behind at Fukushima Daiichi and spared Japan from an even worse fate occupy an uncomfortable place in the country's post-disaster psyche. While the Chilean miners who spent 69 days trapped deep underground in 2010 were feted as national heroes, most of the Fukushima workers continue to live unseen in the shadow of the disaster.Some of the men in this story lost everything, including their loved ones, in the tsunami, but they nevertheless risked their lives to save others. It is indeed strange, perverse, even, that such men live in anonymity while the Chilean miners who had no choice but to just wait until they could be rescued were turned into celebrities.
Tepco turns down most interview requests, and all but two of the handful of workers who have commented publicly did so on condition of anonymity. Most have chosen to remain silent, fearing they would be ostracised in the communities they tried, but failed, to prevent from turning into post-nuclear wastelands for years, perhaps decades.
Yoshizawa understands their anger. "Generally speaking, people in Japan believe we were the cause of the accident, and it's important to bear that in mind. As Tepco employees we have to take responsibility for the accident, and ensure that it never happens again. It's a matter of regaining people's trust, but it will take time. "Looking back, maybe there were things we could have done better to prepare, but at the time we did everything possible to respond to the accident."
The perception that the workers perpetrated the accident and then botched their response appeared to permeate every level of Japanese society. The Fukushima 50 waited 18 months before the then prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, publicly thanked them for "saving Japan", a gesture repeated this month by his successor, Shinzo Abe.