Mon, Jun 11, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Meddling ex-PM ‘slowed Japan’s atomic response’

AP, TOKYO

A panel investigating Japan’s nuclear disaster said on Saturday that former Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan and his aides caused confusion at the height of last year’s tsunami-earthquake crisis by heavily interfering in the operation of the damaged and leaking Fukushima Dai-ichi atomic power plant.

Shuya Nomura, a member of the panel, said that Kan’s aides made many calls to the plant asking basic questions and distracting workers.

They did not follow the official line of communication under the country’s nuclear disaster management law, Nomura said.

“They asked questions that were often inappropriate and very basic, unnecessarily causing more work ... at the site,” he said.

During the crisis, Kan and his team said the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), provided scant information, forcing them to ask questions.

The panel also revealed that TEPCO considered evacuating all but 10 workers, but Kan ordered them to keep working. About 70 workers eventually managed to bring the plant under control.

The panel also criticized Kan and his government for not releasing radiation data and other critical information, thereby causing unnecessary exposures and creating widespread distrust of the government.

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