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Edano denies pressuring TEPCO not to say 'meltdown' during Fukushima crisis

43 Comments
By Satoshi Sugiyama and Mari Yamaguchi

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43 Comments
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But we don’t believe it was a cover-up.

Not a cover up? But the worst thing is that the Japanese media pretty much fell in line. And when the foreign reporters referred to it as a meltdown they were rounded on as sensationalist by Japan's tame media as were their news organisations, even more reputable ones.

27 ( +29 / -2 )

I believe the correct term they were looking to use other than "meltdown" was "triple meltdown".

30 ( +33 / -3 )

Japanese media is Japanese media, they are at the beck and call of the government and do what they are told.

19 ( +23 / -4 )

Why do I get the feeling that nobody of any particular standing or influence will be that arsed about what most sensible people would view as a shocking revelation?

15 ( +18 / -3 )

They would have denied the meltdowns for months and even years had not scientists abroad determined that a meltdown had occurred based on the radioisotopes released from the plant and detected around the world.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Nice work trying to blame it on a government directive. I distinctly remember ex-PM Kan screaming at the TEPCO president to give him some straight answers. It is quite likely that, due to his downplaying of the events many more people were exposed to radiation. If this is proven, this old fella should be put away for a very long time.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

TEPCO has said the delay in confirming the meltdown didn’t affect the company’s emergency response at the plant. Although the reactors have been stabilized significantly, the company is still struggling with the plant’s decades-long decommissioning.

How can the reactors (sic) be 'stabilized' when all the nuclear fuel has melted and is far down in the ground?

How is it possible to 'decommission' melted corium when anything or anyone gets bombarded to death with radiation on entering the buildings?

Even this article is full of doublespeak .....

8 ( +11 / -3 )

How can the reactors (sic) be 'stabilized' when all the nuclear fuel has melted and is far down in the ground?

What is your evidence for your claim that the melted nuclear fuel is "far down in the ground?"

-24 ( +2 / -26 )

Japan Today is owned by a Japanese media company. Does it appear to be at the beck and call of the Japanese government?

It is not relevant enough to be censored, Only me and you and about five other people read it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This will go down as one of the largest coverups in modern history. Mark my words, the public only know of a sliver of what actually happened - and the true extent of incompetence. I happen to know refugees personally & what they were subject to in the hours & days following the meltdown was unbelievable.

For example - who was the first to leave the area by plane as it unfolded? Why, the mayor and his cronies of course! Allegedly, he only returned days later as his safe filled with a "secret stash of cash" (some 500m yen) had washed up with the debris.

Or the TEPCO-sanctioned use of questionable recruiters (read: The Yaks) for the clean-up efforts. Each recruiter has been & still is skimming anywhere between ¥1m - ¥2m a month off EACH sub-contractor, who is more often than not some borderline homeless guy who will take any work they can get. Oh, I'm not even getting started.

The PM & SDF did the best they could with the information & resources they had. There is an outstanding PBS documentary that you should all check out.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

"But the investigation found TEPCO’s delayed acknowledgement did not break any law."

Surprise, surprise. Sure, lying resulted in far more serious damage than if they had told the truth, but if that were a crime all of Japan inc. would be behind bars. So, the usual, vapid promises to be more transparent from now on, bla boa bla

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@bullfighter: I find your dismissive attitude toward this serious matter of safety very offensive and abrasive. Respectfully, I have to wonder what your true intentions are by making such a comment...

kurisupisu's comment is a logical stretch considering: "The operator of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant has revealed that 600 tonnes of reactor fuel melted during the disaster, and that the exact location of the highly radioactive blobs remains a mystery."

Bullfighter, the blobs certainly don't travel upwards do they...? Now it's your turn; what is your evidence that the melted nuclear fuel is NOT far down in the ground?

Source (1 of many): http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-24/fukushima-operator-reveals-600-tonnes-melted-during-the-disaster/7396362

10 ( +13 / -3 )

HIs greed undoubtedly made the situation worse. Before the earthquake he was primarily known as a cost-cutter, in fact it was under him that the Fukushima plant received a 10 year extension to operate, in January of 2011.... It was his greed that delayed the dumping of seawater on the reactors, a delay he initially approved of because he thought he could save the reactors(if seawater was dumped on the reactors they would never be usable again). Ironically his greed cost him a lot of money, not only that, cost lives and seriously disrupted the lives of countless others. How this man isn't in jail is beyond me, maybe it's proof that money can buy you freedom from repercussions from your actions. He is the Japanese corporate Brock Turner.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The See Nothing, Hear Nothing, Say Nothing monkeys should be tried for crimes against humanity.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Its all a boys club cover up... people are still living in temp housing and we are debating this?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

It's the sort of rhetoric you expect from a tin pot third world dictatorship.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Ex-TEPCO chief banned use of word 'meltdown' during Fukushima crisis

We all remember that period (for those who were there), they were insisted loudly with their "cold shutdown".

An outside investigation team appointed by the operator of Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant "But the investigation found TEPCO’s delayed acknowledgement did not break any law."

And another Japanese third party investigation panel appointed by the principal.

TEPCO has eliminated the definition of a meltdown from the manual that was revised after the Fukushima accident.

Suppress the definition of "meltdown", the message is clear, it does not exist, TEPCO the nuclear revisionist, see you at the next cover-up.

What is your evidence for your claim that the melted nuclear fuel is "far down in the ground?"

Laws of Physics in this part of the universe, but you are free to believe the nonsense/BS TEPCO is serving you since day 1 and relocate other there.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It is fairly simple to surmise that the nuclear fuel has moved and breached containment ie has melted by the response of Tepco.As reported Tepco has built an (1500 metres long)'ice wall' to prevent radioactive water leaking out into the sea! Now, if the nuclear melted fuel had not breached containment and was not coming into contact with underground water then this action would not have been deemed necessary by Tepco, would it? Since there is a radioactive release then it must be assumed that fissioning must still be taking place over which Tepco has no means to prevent

There it is, obvious proof of breach of containment caused by three meltdowns.......

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I'm sorry, but until an investigative panel includes non-commissioned, unrelated (and preferably foreign) third parties, I can't really trust any conclusion.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I find your dismissive attitude toward this serious matter of safety very offensive and abrasive. Respectfully, I have to wonder what your true intentions are by making such a comment...

I was not dismissive. I asked for evidence.

and that the exact location of the highly radioactive blobs remains a mystery

That the exact location is unknown does not mean the blobs are in the ground. Reactor buildings have a number of layers.

The blobs could be in the reactor vessels or resting on the massive floor of the containment structure.

Now it's your turn; what is your evidence that the melted nuclear fuel is NOT far down in the ground?

If it was "far down in the ground," it would not be a problem. If you go down far enough, you get to the molten core of this planet. Even a kilometer or so down would prevent the blobs from being an issue. That's why proposed storage facilities for high level nuclear waste are all "far down in the ground."

There was an extensive discussion of this and related issues in the NBR Japan Forum. You can read it at

https://japanforum.nbr.org/scripts/wa.exe?A0=LIST

-16 ( +1 / -17 )

If the reactors contained the fuel then that would quell the mystery of the radioactive water, but they aren't and it doesn't

4 ( +5 / -1 )

That's why proposed storage facilities for high level nuclear waste are all "far down in the ground."

Are they (the 'storage facilities') deep in the ground beside an ocean and below a crippled nuclear power plant? Can I respectfully ask if you intentionally partake in trolling? Or does it just come naturally.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"Meltdown" is an ill-defined word which conjures up visions of post-apocalyptic hell. TEPCO honestly reported the condition of the reactor, but were prevented from using that particular word by the PMs Office - the same office which told them to hold venting reactor one for about 6 hours on the day it exploded.

They wrote:

Fuel pellets of Unit 1 were melted and fell down to the bottom of RPV

All this furore over words - very superficial. And why no bile for PM Kan? He who decided that no records of the decision making process in the PMs Office be made?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

How TEPCO is still in charge in Fukushima beggars belief! They have openly admitted what we already knew - that they lied about the meltdown. Prior to that they ignored safety advice regarding the threat of a tsunami. Yet still they remain in charge. Absolutely disgusting. In any other developed country, the entire board would be in prison by now.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I believe the correct term they were looking to use other than "meltdown" was "triple meltdown

Yeah, I agree. But that sounds too eerie. The Japanese are guilty of the pc thing too, not just americans.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

On an intellectual par with avoiding the use of the devil`s name for fear of summoning him. Incredible how the completely witless attain positions of power.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The prime minister’s office says never to use this word.”

Last time TEPCO used the word "prime ministers office", they meant "a TEPCO employee (Mr. Takekuro) who was attending a meeting at the Prime Ministers office".

TEPCO issued this excuse report without clarifying who "the prime ministers office" was. I bet they mean the same TEPCO employee Mr. Takeruko who was calling from the Prime Ministers office.

News writers assume "the Prime Ministers office" as the Prime Minister himself or the Chief Cabinet Secretary. But they should have learned from the last communication failure that TEPCO uses the word for its employee.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sounds like utter BS from TEPCO to me, and indeed is suspicious as Edano says. Not saying Edano and Kan are clean in all of this, but compared with Shimizu, who LITERALLY ran away and checked into a hospital for a tummy ache FAR away from the reactor when the incident occurred, and Naoto Kan was furious three days after the event and screamed at TEPCO to stop giving him the runaround and state clearly what was happening, I think Edano is telling the truth an TEPCO is spewing more lies again. If anything the LDP is responsible for downplaying and events in Fukushima, with Abe's "under control" lies in order to get the Olympics in Tokyo.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

News writers assume "the Prime Ministers office" as the Prime Minister himself or the Chief Cabinet Secretary. But they should have learned from the last communication failure that TEPCO uses the word for its employee.

Not just news writers. Edano wouldn't bother specifically denying it if he knew news writers were just misunderstanding it. Basically Edano is saying that TEPCO and the panel of lawyers they appointed are still lying about things now!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Am I a cynic for assuming this is an LDP ploy to take the attention off Masuzoe and Amari?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Probably lost containment on all three reactor units during the initial great quake, esp. Unit 1. Losing containment is worse that melting down but of course no reactor in the world can contain the offgassing creating during a meltdown. The nuclear industry refuses or can not even contain offgassing during normal start up and shut down operations let alone during normal run time, it is released to the surrounding environment.

Once containment was lost, nothing could be done except lie to innocent and helpless women and children about the dangers of lost containment(s) that was never regained. Not even a suggestion to take inert iodine for some limited protection.

The US is no better when not reporting the dangers either.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The TEPCO mafia just doesn't let up, do they...now a report by " a team of 3 lawyers appointed by TEPCO itself finds TEPCO blameless and tries to pin it on PM,s office ( geez any echoes of Matsuzoe appointing his own lawyers to fund himself blameless too). How can any entity or individual being investigated appoint their own investigators beggars belief .

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If this is from the ruling party, I'll just say this. It ain't wise to play with matches when your arms are soaked to the elbows in gasoline.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

So, let's say comments above are more or less on the money. What are foreign governments thinking? Believe? They know more? Are they ready to tell their citizens the truth, or are they going to join in the cover-up? Are their embassies going to volunteer information? Can we find any real information? With all the spying, satellites, etc, are we still going to be kept in the dark?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Talaraedokko: "With all the spying, satellites, etc, are we still going to be kept in the dark?"

First, I'm not sure what you expect. It's not up to foreign governments to give you the information your own country should provide. Second, the US has on a number of occasions given statistics, comments, advice, and offers for nuclear experts to come in and help, but these have more often than not been met with defensiveness, lies, and false accusations. Just look at comments about American troops exposed to radiation in operation Tomodachi; their calls to use sea water for cooling were met with -- by TEPCO -- protest because the powers that be wanted to save the plant, and now that they are dying of cancer they are being called liars and met with skepticism by people here, if they are even heard in the first place. Foreign inspectors aren't really allowed into all areas, are they? Nope! Instead, it's TEPCO hired inspectors and lawyers.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In my case, I didn't hear the word "meltdown" until long after the accident at the Fukushima power plant. So, and I am just guessing here, this word was not used even after Jiminto regained control of the government. And when I first heard it used, I was under the impression that the meltdown was in only one reactor. Later I heard that it was in three reactors. Then in an NHK broadcast earlier this year we were told there might be four meltdowns underway. It was said that reactor No. 2 is so hot nobody can get in there ... and nobody knows what's happening.

I wish our nuclear expert from Kobe was still putting comments on this site. I think his name began with a "Z." He always gave us easy to understand explanations on what was going on up there at the Fukushima site.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I remember this Edano guy appearing on TV a lot during the nuclear crisis. He didn't inspire a whole lotta confidence...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's probably true that there is no concrete proof of such pressure not to use a word. A memo to that effect would probably not be seen as something to be filed away, but more likely something to go to the shredder. The proof will only be indirect, that the word was not used, even though it was the correct word to use for such a situation, and that the use of less accurate words persisted as if such guidance had been given.

Whether the timing of this report is political... that's possible. That doesn't mean the content of the report isn't important, however.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Fukushima-The gift that keeps on giving. So who are you gonna believe? Mr Shimizu who disappeared and hid in an Osaka hospital and a group of TEPCo appointed investigators or Mr Kan who chose to visit the site because he didn't trust TEPCo and Mr Edano who was a member of his team. I know where my money is.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

EDANO is the ONE who ordered the public fund funneling into TEPCO to stay them afloat. Let's not forget this !

0 ( +1 / -1 )

re: Edojin. Yes, where is Mr. "Z" from Kobe? Now that you mention it, we have not heard from him a long time. Does anyone know what is up with him? He was a valued contributor!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It turned out that Mr. Sasaki Zenzo, the lawyer who prepared this 3rd party report for TEPCO is the same person who prepared the 3rd party report for "inappropriate but not illegal" spending by the former Tokyo Governor, Mr Masuzoe.

It seems this lawyer is specializing in cover-up reports in disguise of disinterested 3rd party reports.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As I watched Edano speak live on TV as the disaster was unfolding I was in s h o c k to see the obvious effort on his behalf to cover up what was taking place. I told my sons , but they were young at the time. I told my wife, but did she perhaps lean towards believing what was being 'reported' more?.. Does it take a person (Edano,etc..)with low moral standards to be in such high positions? To be able to lie in the faces of the people whose lives are at your mercy? Lying to the children who are extremely susceptible to the release of contaminated materials? Sad,extremely disappointed,betrayed and NOT happy with what these TRUE low-lives are being allowed to get away with.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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