It is worth noting that on the day of the worst disaster in history, the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster in Japan, the President of the U.S.A. held a news conference focused on the disaster. Only he had scheduled the news conference prior and originally the news conference was going to be on a whole other topic. Originally the conference was going to be about the NATO enforced no-fly-zone/armed conflict in Libya. The discussion about that would have to wait. The news conference transformed into an expression of compassion for and discussion on Japan. And in the weeks following the USA and Canada turned off the radiation readings normally open to the public as if to shut our eyes.
The earthquake and tsunami caused several nuclear reactors to fail and meltdown. It also threatened the essential infrastructure of the nuclear experiment which could result in further more catastrophic nuclear hellfire. The specific problem is the spent fuel pools. Spent fuel is actually not spent at all, it is highly radioactive and unstable. The spent fuel pools hold globe altering amounts of poison. And unit 4 in the middle of the other five units is a crumbling, rumored to have been leaning, holds enormous amounts of radioactive material which would destroy an already permanently altered Japan and perhaps the region known as the northern hemisphere. The radioactive material covering Japan and increasingly the world cannot be seen or detected by humans without machines and therefore it is one of the easiest things to lie about. And it is also one of the easiest dangers to ignore.
In numerous Asian languages the word four is a homonym with the word death. People frequently equate the number with death and fear it and avoid it as they would death. In Mandarin, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean the words death and four sound the same and the number is scorned as some in the west scorn thirteen. Throughout Asia tetraphobia, fear of four, is commonplace. People avoid the number so extensively it is omitted in elevators, in buildings and hospital room numbers across Asia. Surely the dangers and what some are calling the inevitable disaster of Unit 4 at Fukushima Daiichi is only enhancing the fear of four.
There is an Asian image and adage which was heavily influenced by the tendency to consciously and unconsciously omit four. The homonym might be the main reason one of the most highly regarded images and adages across much of Asia is distorted, with the fourth part missing. The adage is about human mentality.
It is the adage and image of The Wise Monkeys; Hear No Evil, See No Evil and Speak No Evil. Three monkeys are depicted in a row, one covering its eyes, the other covering its ears and the last covering its mouth. The three monkeys in the adage are reflective of human characteristics in the face of evil, an evil like nuclear experimentation say.
The adage of the Wise Monkeys likely originates from ideas of Confucius. The Chinese philosophies ultimately migrated to Japan. And in Japanese the word not and the word monkey are homonyms, just like four and death. This is likely where the word play with the imagery originates.
"Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety." ~Confucius, Analects of Confucius