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Kyushu Electric execs under fire for not resigning over fake email scandal

19 Comments

The top two executives at Kyushu Electric Power Co came under fire on Friday for not resigning to take responsibility for a fake email scandal to manipulate public opinion on the resumption of operations at the utility's Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture.

Chairman Shingo Matsuo and President Toshio Manabe submitted the results of an in-house probe to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. In it, they apologized for betraying public trust. The company later announced that both executives would receive no salary for the next three months, but would not be resigning.

However, Economy and Trade Minister Yukio Edano, curently on a visit to China, said that for both men to retain their positions was unthinkable, NHK reported. He said Kyushu Electric has ignored most of the findings of the independent commission set up to investigate the scandal.

Kyushu Electric submitted fake emails in support of a restart of idle nuclear reactors at a government-sponsored meeting for local residents in June. Following that revelation, the industry ministry ordered six electric power companies to conduct internal investigations of their PR activities and to report all activities aimed at winning local support for nuclear power.

An independent commission investigating the scandal named Saga Prefectural Gov Yasushi Furukawa Committee chairman as the person who proposed that fake emails be used in the question and answer session.

In order to create the impression that there existed widespread public support for the reopening of the Genkai nuclear power plant, Furukawa allegedly told Kyushu Electric to use the Internet to submit messages purporting to be from members of the public agreeing to the plan.

In August, Furukawa told a news conference that a memo was drafted, but that it did not accurately represent his wishes. “The fact that the memo got circulated does not mean that I have to take responsibility for the scandal,” he told the media.

Kyushu Electric's internal investigation revealed that, of 2,900 employees, 141 sent emails. It also found that Kyushu Electric’s Saga office had sent similar pro-nuclear emails to partners and that it asked employees at its subsidiaries and partner companies to attend a July 8 meeting for residents in the prefecture. The commission found that 63 employees of these companies were present at the meeting, constituting about 20% of the audience.

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19 Comments
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Off with their heads!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fraud and Falsification ... important parts of Japanese culture!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Not even honorable enough to commit 'seppuku' (not literally, of course) for their scandals. Oh how the Japanese have fallen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He said Kyushu Electric has ignored most of the findings of the independent commission set up to investigate the scandal.

No surprise/news here. Move on. Japanese electric companies have been ignoring almost all findings they don't like for decades. With a wink from the government, because the politicians, bureaucrats and business leaders all felt it was best for Japan Inc. Until that unhealthy three- way alliance is broken once and for all in Japan, the country will never prosper again, and the citizens will always be paying for this kind of nonsense.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Apology is not good enough, resign immediatley

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It is acceptable to lie when in a position of public trust then?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is no need for them to resign. I think in this case the ends justified the means. Japan will need ample supply of nuclear power going forward. Yes, they resorted to extreme PR techniques, but it's nothing outside of what private industry does and it certainly is not illegal.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Nothing about the governor Yasushi Furukawa who instigated it either, a recipient of many donations; obviously desperate to keep his snout in the nuclear trough...

He should be out too...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think in this case the ends justified the means

j4p4 -- does that include the years of neglecting safety concerns so Japan could enjoy cheap power? Which is, according to most objective experts, a principal reason Fukushima experienced the severe damage it did, and why Japan is now facing a nuclear crisis and years of re-building. What's the difference?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Herefornow,

I would say that the safety concerns are unrelated. Japanese industry needs cheap power, or else we cannot provide jobs for people. Of course we should make sure it is as safe as possible. But either way, the needs of the nation must be placed above the safety of a few.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

This would be like the news organizations resigning for posting fake poll data that takes down governments. Same old same old.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

not going to happen for polls, not going to happen for this manipulation either

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But either way, the needs of the nation must be placed above the safety of a few.

WHAT?! I might be persuaded of the inevitability of nuclear power in Japan, but to say "either way" -- which to me implies "safe or not" -- is totally, thoroughly irresponsible. Included within that 80-km radius around Fukushima Daiichi were the cities of Fukushima (pop. 290,064), Koriyama (336,328), Iwaki (337,288), among others. Was it right for more than a million people have to have their lives, their property, and their livelihoods endangered for the sake of the rest of Japan? Within an 80-km radius of the Genkai nuclear power plant lie the cities of Fukuoka, Saga, and Kurume, among many others. Should those millions of people have to live with safe or unsafe nuclear power "either way"?

"The needs of the nation must be placed above the safety of a few" ... I wonder if Chisso executives used the same sort of rationalization in the aftermath of the mercury poisoning at Minamata.

The nuclear power industry bears the burden of proof in demonstrating that a) the facilities are well-designed with multiple safeguards and b) the workforce (particularly the executives) know what the h--- they're doing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Newsman,

I am agreeing with you that I think it should be as safe as possible. However, we know that realistically this is not always going to happen. There is a margin for error. This is true in all industry across the world. We are willing to accept a certain number of deaths in coal mines, a certain amount of oil spills, a certain degree of abuse in the diamond industry, and there is definitely a tolerance in the developed world for a certain amount of borderline slave labor that brings us cheap mobile phones and other devices. In every economy, every single major economy, the needs of the nation are, in practice, put above the safety of a few.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It was wrong to do but they need the power. Hopefully they really pick up and secure the safe mechanisms and get things back on line.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

no big deal.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Public manipulation backfires so bad in the longterm... Won't these guys ever learn?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the needs of the nation must be placed above the safety of a few.

Your ideology is very similar to these collectivist political ideologies (communism, fascism, etc...). These are not acceptable in a liberal democratic society.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oh my gosh... headlines... a CEO didn't quit because HE didn't do anything wrong. I got a good idea, lets STOP running this government and focus everything we have to make these guys quit,. (they tend to do this) But wait.... It's the Japanese way... no wonder this country is NOT going anywhere.

And Yes I am being sarcastic. I agree what they did was wrong, but like I said this country is NOT going anywhere if everyone QUITS.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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