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New nuclear regulatory agency delayed amid political infighting

31 Comments
By Mari Yamaguchi

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31 Comments
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can they not stop this $h!t and save the country instead of just looking out for themselves????? selfish twits.

8 ( +7 / -0 )

Get those dinosaurs out of there asap and let young folk take overto get stuff done! All this shoving stuff around, postponing and having mixed interests is going to get Japan either blown or contaminated into oblivion... >.<

6 ( +5 / -0 )

Since this govt came into office following the last general election it has flip flopped on many of its promises and policies? Will this be another one and the old atomic safety agencies which have failed both the country and the people will continue with their previous roles and continue to be staffed by the old boy network does not give any feelings or reassurances that any of the nuclear reactors are safe enough if the gov`t does another flip flop and restarts them?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"The Japanese government has failed..." Yup. That could sum up the whole article, and then some.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

He called the delay “regrettable.”

The rest of the world calls it "predictable". This is just byrocrats protecting their amakudari practice.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

This is a testament to the big issue with health care in Japan--or hospitals, really. ER doctors don't want to work at night or on the weekends..., so they don't. If you are mortally injured and need a surgery, but someone has an appointment before you for a cosmetic surgery..., the cosmetic surgery takes priority. Being 'responsible for your own health' goes too far, in my opinion. Nobody has any empathy for the sick. For example, if you tell someone, "I have a terrible flu. I'm sick and tired, and I need to rest," they might reply, "That's a terrible excuse to not go to work."

Fortunately, ... FINALLY..., after all my years in Japan, they are releasing a new regulation in local school districts that requires teachers to go to clinics when they have flu-like symptoms. Thank you, God. I'm so sick of people coming to work and getting everyone in the damned school sick. All the students get stressed out because their parents and teachers have absolutely no empathy and blame them, even though it's initially their fault for trying to force everyone to come to work while they're sick. Honestly, there's not that much demand for workers at schools, here. Professional standards are way too high in various industries.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In summary: if you decide come to Japan on holiday, 1) Don't be in a state where you may become very sick (i.e., have a heart attack). 2) Know how to perform self surgery, in the event of an accident! Lol

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sounds like those in the pay of the nuclear industry are in a fight with those not yet in the pay of the nuclear industry. Time to spread more money around to honorable politicians.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Politicians gotta get a nice cut from the action, or nothing happens.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"has been slowed by disagreements between the ruling and opposition parties over how much independence it should have, " Total independence is the only answer,free of government interference. Keep the politicians as far away as possible. We've all witnessed the current situation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I really despair for the average japanese person just trying to have a life here. After everything that has happened obviously nothing has been learnt by those at the top. All I can do is shake my head.We are leaving Japan in two weeks. I actually was quite happy to stay but my husband, who incidentally is japanese, wants to leave here and start his business elsewhere. He knows that utopia doesn`t exist anywhere on this planet but he feels that the japanese government will never think about their people and seem to be unable to implement or decide on any new policies. I just feel so sad about it all really. I feel so sad for him.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

It seems that many people do not know the fact that at present the nuclear safety bodies are staffed with a large number of young people who are equally frustrated with the slow change of the laws concerning nuclear safety, the bodies in charge of it, etc. The media do not report the fact that the agency at present is understaffed and those working there work day and night. Work, however is slowed down by endless requests by politicians, by lack of new legislation on nuclear safety, and many other problems, which the media, again, do not report on. And let's just say that even though they are young, the people working there are only human and with the overwork time they score, exhasution is unforgiving and undiscriminating. But why should media report on this, really?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

JaneM

but the fact remain, that the heads of the atomic safety agencies are all part of the old boy network and the same ones who were there prior to the 3/11 nuclear disaster.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

JaneM - sounds like every government agency, and indeed, most Japanese companies.

The fact that oyajis run the nuclear safety agency and this annoys their overworked subordinates isn't news. It just highlights that the agency as a whole is a failure.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

NISA's current chief was appointed chief after the accident and even he is still on the young side by Japanese standard. We, the readers, do need to realize that as long as there is no new legislation enforced, no matter how young and willing to change the current situation the beaurocrats are、things will remain the same. Bashing the beaurocrats in general and those in the nuclear safety bodies in particular has turned into a way of letting pressure out, but if we try to be more objective, it may become easier to see that without a real legislative change the young people working in the ministries cannot do anything, however willing they might be. And they are not the ones who can pass the laws.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Currently, the main regulatory body, the Nuclear Industrial and Safety Agency, is under the control of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which also promotes nuclear power in the resource-poor country.

And it is these guys who are responsible for the mess we are in now.

And it is this government which is responsible for fixing these guys. It shouldn't take this long.It appears that wareware once more don't have a clue what wareware are supposed to be doing.

An autonomous and independent regulatory body, armed with a real mandate and powers to enforce compliance (and not merely an advisory role) might be a good start.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“We urge you to freeze this matter because it could trigger confusion and escalate public fear over nuclear safety.”

Yup -- much better to have an actual disaster, which both the governmnet and TEPCO were woefully unprepared for, to "trigger confusion and escalate public fear over nuclear safety". Will Japanese "leaders" ever grasp the fact that denial and burying their heads in the sand behind a bunch on B.S. is only pushing the country further and further into decline?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

JaneM - the bureaucrats make the legislation and enforce it - they are also the ones with the cosy ties with the power companies that allowed the appalling safety record of Japan's nuclear industry to continue all the way up to this accident.

Bashing the bureaucrats is right, because they are primarily responsible for failing to police TEPCO or to adequately do anything about the other ongoing nuclear accidents, such as at Monju, etc. Time and time again, panels set up by NISA have been filled with experts that have been shown to be in the pay pockets of METI and the power companies - they have proactively acted as nuclear power advocates instead of an objective safety agency policing the nuclear power agency. The fiasco in Saga just last year was another example of that.

I don't doubt there are many hard working, stressed out good and well intentioned people at NISA. But it doesn't change the fact that they are and remain an abject failure.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

With an urgent, essential need to establish a plan this just absolutely beggars belief. It's an affront to the fear, suffering and threats posed by the ongoing Level 7 nuclear catastropheS at Dai-Ichi.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Calling young people who are willing to work and to change an abject failure helps in no way. Again, it only shows that some people who follow the “news” in the media do not try to look further and are never willing to support those trying to work things out. Well, bashing is much easier than trying to get over your own prejudice, isn’t it eventually?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

JaneM

how are this young people working for NSC and NISA working to change anything who are not part of the decision making and there have been no radical changes at any of the atomc safety agencies which is why the country badly news a new one, especially if any of the reactors are restarted.

These agencies are part of the chain which caused the nuclear disaster to happen.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Today's Editorial in the Mainichi Newspaper is also worth a read concerning this issue.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@JaneM: Emotional fallacy seemingly underpins your inability to point the finger and lay the blame which must be done if anything is to be learned from this catastrophe. Your 'argument' would have us functioning within a logical structure where calling a spade a spade labels you a heretic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At the heart of the problem was unregulated safety standards, an over site body who has since admitted they spent more time looking for reasons why Japanese N plants shouldn't conform to industry standards, were to cuddly with the industry and could at best advise not fine, prosecute? Now after everything that has happened what is the reaction?...nothing and a hope all will be forgotten. Mmmmm those who don't learn from History are doomed to repeat it. Apparently we need to repeat the whole uncontrolled incident again and god forbid again before it's viewed as serious. Once was enough for most but it's viewed as a cash cow for those at the top, thus the inaction. Screw the tax payer. As long as they pay.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Selfish idiots, do your jobs and work for the people and not each other

0 ( +0 / -0 )

JaneM

And they are not the ones who can pass the laws.

No but they are the ones who ensure the atomic safety standards and laws are enforced which they failed to do causing the world`s second largest nuclear disaster and contaminating 10,000 sq km of land, contaminating the atmosphere, the land and the sea, and the food chain.

I don`t have any respect for any one of them including the young suits "who are doing their job" and getting well paid for it well more than 100,000 people in Fukushima have lost everything.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Zichi The people in the agency at the moment are different from those who were there before the disaster. Those who are there at present are dealing with numerous problems which have to be and can be solved ASAP. It is important to distinguish the problems which are being dealt with at the moment and those which will concern the nuclear safety once the reactors resume work and/or some of them are hopefully decommissioned. So there are two lines of work which need immediate attention. The staff While ministry workers cannot pass the laws in the Diet (yes, they do take part in the law-making but voting and passing the regulations is politicians’ job) they can and are working on a zillion other issues which have not been reported because the media presumably do not find them so "interesting". It is common knowledge that bad news are the ones which attract most attention. And yes, work is slow because, obviously, for the load of issues they are dealing with, the agency is understaffed. I do wish all those issues concerning the nuclear crisis were resolved faster, but I try to be realistic and not overreact.

Hikozaemon, I wouldn't generalize about people, no matter what line of work they are in. Generalization is one of the shortest ways to prejudice and discrimination.

YongYang, There is no emotional fellacy on my side. What you seem to not understand is that the people who work there at present are not the ones with the cosy relations with the power industry. Yes, it is the same institution but those inside are not the ones who caused this crisis. They are the ones who are trying to sort it out.

Looking for scapegoats and eventually blaming the wrong people (pointing your finger, as you put it) sounds a lot like witch-hunting. But hey, we live in democratic Japan. So why not blame whoever we want? Go ahead and do it.

I am not trying to justify the nuclear safety agency, just trying to say that things are and will be changing.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Man can't control nuclear power. And certainly can't guarantee it's safety, as proven by past disasters.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

JaneM

I can`t accept your statement that the entire staff of all the atomic safety agencies were fired and replaced with new suits? The head of the NSC wanted to resign but has now decided to stay in his post? Can you provide a link about the entire staff changes?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I never said they had been fired. But a very big part of the staff has been appointed after the accident and new fresh staff are coming in. Such changes are not officially announced to the general public so, even if you do not have to, you might as well take my word for it.

Just want to say that, eventhough it may not look so, I have had my scare after the accident and am as much eager to have the crisis solved as anybody else here. And I do believe that nuclear energy is not the energy of the future. (Needed to say it for anybody who might be willing to "fight" on this.)

Talk to you some other time.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@JaneM: Red herrings aside, the blame HAS to be pinned somewhere, hysterics of 'We mustn't! It's prejudice!' will not stand. If the causers of this catastrophe are NOT pointed out we will not learn.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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