After more than a year since the Fukushima nuclear crisis, caused by the devastating tsunami on March 11th, the Japanese parliament’s independent committee has finished their investigation into the accident, and is ready to publish their results. As part of their investigation, they interviewed numerous government officials and executives from the nuclear plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), in order to find out where the responsibility lies.
Then Prime Minister Naoto Kan is one of the many who have been revealed to have played a significant role in either ignoring the risks the Fukushima Daiichi facility faced against a large-scale tsunami, or in contributing to the chaos of the disaster’s opening days. Under his leadership, the government has been heavily criticized for its slow response to the disaster and Kan himself for making things more difficult for TEPCO management on the scene. As part of Kan’s interview with the investigation committee last month, it was revealed that he made numerous phone calls to the plant and asked side tracking questions as the crisis was unfolding. He even created a fairly large distraction when he personally visited the damaged reactor site and asked to be shown around, instead of leaving workers alone to try to contain the meltdown.
Also brought to light was the lack of information provided to the public, including the deliberate withholding of data about the spread of radiation. There was also miscommunication of instructions between TEPCO management and the government, resulting in plant engineers with little understanding about what was really going on and where they were most needed. This Fukushima disaster report will be the third to be published. A group of private scholars and journalists revealed their analysis in February of this year, while TEPCO’s own internal investigation was released just last month.