Have you been watching the news from Japan this weekend?
I have been riveted, and something has struck me powerfully. Ever since the earthquake Japanese politicians have been on television, telling their countrymen how badly screwed they are. " We've lost 25% of our national electrical generating capacity, there are several nuclear power stations with melting cores on our mainland. The bodies of your friends and families are washing up on shore, your homes, highways, and way of life have been destroyed. Godzilla can't get here until Tuesday. Ad nauseum."
Obviously, the folks are depressed, in shock, scared, homeless, screwed, but from what I've seen stoic and believing they are dealt with honestly.
In the US, during any calamity, it's understood that any and every official on the air is a manifestation of Pinocchio. We can clearly tell who is lying. The guy with his lips moving.
Granted, I'm watching Japanese news through a US filter, but it is refreshing to WANT to believe that governments can be honest with their citizens during horrible events. It's just a shame it's unlikely to ever happen here.