The Japanese parliament’s report that was published on Thursday has stated its conclusion that the Fukushima nuclear disaster that was triggered by last’s year tsunami was ultimately “man-made” and could have been prevented. The nuclear plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the government, and Japan’s nuclear regulation agencies, connected by the collusion between the three, are the most responsible for the world’s worst nuclear accident.
The report stated “Although triggered by these cataclysmic events, the subsequent accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant cannot be regarded as a natural disaster.” While the plant getting directly hit by the tsunami’s waves was something only nature could control, the fact that TEPCO officials intentionally neglected the warnings, some presented as early as six years ago, that the Fukushima nuclear plant was in great risk in the event of a large-scale earthquake or tsunami. Excuses from the Japanese government and nuclear regulators were abundant, the independent investigating committee said, but the fact remains that choices were made in favor of cost-cutting measures over public safety.
Kiyoshi Kurokawa, a Tokyo University professor emeritus and medical doctor, wrote that, sadly, this disaster was “made in Japan.” He explained that some of the contributing factors were a direct result of the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture. Things like an instinctive tendency towards obedience, a reluctance towards change, and an unwillingness to question authority were all manners that led to a lack of speaking out or of understanding the full picture. Even high-level engineers at the Fukushima plant were not aware of how unprepared the facility was, or where they were most needed in the heat of the crisis.
This report comes shortly after TEPCO’s own internal investigation, in which they stated there was nothing that could’ve been done to prevent what happened. In addition to their findings, the committee called for all the nation’s nuclear regulation agencies to be broken up and reformed as completely independent institutions, instead of operating under various government ministries. While it would be nice to say there are direct punishments on their way for specific individuals, it looks like that won’t be happening anytime soon, as another Japanese custom, that of the “golden parachute,” has numerous TEPCO executives with new positions lined up at other energy companies.
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