I worked in the nuclear power industry, with Japanese, American and European utilities.
I can say that the things which happened in Japan, are a result of that culture where it is important to "Save face" out of respect for other people and not to make changes to work that other people have done, even if safety is at risk. You simply cannot question your elders or superiors there. And every decision is made by committee which includes those same people that cannot be questioned or argued against.
However this is not representative of the environment in European and USA nuclear power plants. In these cultures, engineers and other people routinely criticize everything in the plant to find every last source of a potential failure. In fact, if they can find something that is wrong, something risky, anything like that, they are rewarded with public recognition, raises, bonuses for finding any non-conservative source of potential error, or any safety risk in the plant.
So, what you see in Japan and what exists in the nuclear power industry outside of Japan are 2 different things, for cultural reasons.
I currently live in a home that I own, close to a nuclear plant, and feel completely comfortable with that, because I know the type of engineering and mindfulness toward safety that is present in these plants here in the USA. I would feel the same way in Europe.In Japan, no..
I love Japan and the culture there, but it is simply not the type of open, aggressive fault-finding culture that is needed for the operation of a nuclear power or commercial airline fleet where people need to identify risks and solve problems, without decision by committee or the head guy in the company who basically influences and overrides the whole committee in the end. Technical advice can be given to no end, but all that matters is the opinion of a few elders who may or may not even understand the situation.