Japan are sure not doing themselves any favours by the way they have handled the communications from the get go. What we are seeing there now from the various embassies making their own pronouncements (and not all say the same thing) and people like energy officials in the EU also making statements - Japan is not controlling the message.
While no one disputes the need for news from one source they are showing it to be amateur hour in crisis communications. They just do not have the right set up. It is not about a central command and control centre - it is who gives the news.
Yesterday I think they held a news conference at 4 am. They use one guy now basically who says it all. While it is great he is a hero there is too much in the way of other sources filling the dead air and the fact others are not confident in the message.
The timed conferences are important as it would give people a common time to listen and watch. Many in affected areas have no tv. They'd be addressing all the steps being taken from the radiation issue to relief, rescue and recovery and coordinating it but experts would be speaking. It 'd have the semblance of a team. While no one in the world is better than the Japanese earthquake response their communications are far from best in class. It might be a cultural trait but you'd think all the key agencies would be used to reassure the people as well as get out the accurate news.
It is clear now they didn't get the right story out early as they let the message come from company officials and not an independent expert or health official that could be trusted.
Just telling your people to remain strong is not good enough. That is why the Lowrey effect is taking over and people are starting to take their own actions based on which news Nelly they just heard rather than real risk.
There is no credible expert leading the expert briefings and therein lies their ongoing problem.