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Nuclear safety agency under fire over fake questions

31 Comments

The mayor of Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Saturday criticized the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency after revelations continued to emerge that several electric power companies had been asked by the agency to have local residents pose questions in favor of Japan's nuclear projects at symposiums.

Speaking at a news conference, Mayor Shigeo Ishihara said the agency has lost the public's confidence. "I can see why they would want to plant questions, but this is intolerbale. We need to question Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency's checks and balances."

Ishihara's comments follow reports that Chubu Electric Power was asked by the nuclear agency to ensure that questions in favor of nuclear power would be asked at a 2007 government-sponsored symposium.

According to a report on NTV, the utility claimed the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency requested that it gather participants and have local residents ask prearranged questions at the forum held in Shizuoka Prefecture. The utility said it refused the request, citing difficulties with ensuring compliance. However, accordin to another report on NHK, senior officials of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant sent e-mails to employees and visited affiliate companies to encourage them to comply with the request.

The scandal comes weeks after Kyushu Electric Power Co was criticized for submitting fake e-mails 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.

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31 Comments
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Surprise surprise ,I can just see it now... Another deep bow and mooshiwake gozaimasen show of contrition for the cameras by the senior management and then hoping that it's all forgiven and forgotten in acouple of weeks...They should cut al the fatcat managment responsible salaries by 50% for a year..That's the only language they understand...

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Here in the land of groupism and consensus decision making, the local people cannot be trusted to get it right, so the desired result is achieved by rigging the discussion to ensure the intended message prevails.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Only sorry they got caught, seems the status quo in Japan to con the public.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

And in other threads people give me the big -ve when I talk about corruption etc, this crap is so pervasive it is truly sickening, if 3/11 doesnt FORCE Japan to fix some of this S&%T this country is truly done for.

Damned politicians need to realize thism ditto for all the morons in Nagatacho, its do or die, JAPAN WHAT ARE YOU! GONNA DO?

Thats the questions I wanna see answered & fast or I continue to plan my later years elsewhere

5 ( +5 / -1 )

in cahoots!!! surprise?!?!?!? of course we knew that, didn`t we?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Wow! That guy was on fire when he's giving his speech!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This would be funny if it didn't pertain to such a serious issue.

Hamaoka has had a damaged fuel rod stuck in the fuel pool that they haven"t been able to remove for SEVENTEEN years folks..

yet they want local citizens to believe they are on top of their game? pfft.

http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/news/damaged-nuclear-fuel-rod-stuck-at-japanese-plant-for-17-years-ncxdc-072811

4 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan really, really needs to clean up its act!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Kudos to Chubu Electric Power for resisting the temptation to play stooge in another government hijacking of free and open debate. When the Town Hall Meeting scandal came to light a few years ago, I think it turned out around 60 members of the public had been paid or gifted to lob pre-arranged softball questions at cabinet ministers. Who knows how many had to be approached to get it that high ? Scripted queries was normal practice according to the cabinet secretary, so an official report would never be fully released.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

GW -- what are you waiting for? This cancer goes to the very core of Japan. It is not going to change. It can't. The people have totally neglected their responsibility as citizens over the past half-century. For them to just suddenly decide to take back responsibility for this country is never going to happen. They are not mentally tuned for that, and there are not the institutions -- like a truly free press -- in place for it. IMO they like being told what to do and only spoon-fed information, half of which they know to be false. It makes it easier, as they actually do not have to make decisions and can just shrug and mutter shoganai and say that to raise their voices would disturb the Wa. Sure NISA is wrong, but they are simply following the model. And the people have allowed it. Sad.

4 ( +6 / -3 )

Having pitchers throw puff-balls to raise the score may make the game more exciting, but in the ends ruins the game and turns off the fans. People are afraid of real competition it seems, but it does play into the fascist/socialist "too-big-to-fail" model better.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The political system in Japan even under the DPJ does isolate the ordinary citizen and in some respects guarantee a lack of civic involvement. There are still legal and cultural barriers between the individual and the system that create a feeling of powerlessness. But back room manipulation was the rule in LDP politics, which was one reason it was cast off. A cultural explanation ignores historical periods of enormous agitation, such as early post-war, when public interest in the government was extremely high.

So I don't think Japanese lack a concern about politics, and they are certainly not thinking "shouganai" when it is a matter of life and death; it is just difficult for them to put their concerns into action. We will see how far the detachment carries in the face of food radiation and nuclear power. But every small step, like grassroots initiatives that have taken root in Fukushima and elsewhere to provide a check and accounting on the official version of events, is cause to be encouraged.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are still legal and cultural barriers between the individual and the system that create a feeling of powerlessness.

So I don't think Japanese lack a concern about politics, and they are certainly not thinking "shouganai" when it is a matter of life and death; it is just difficult for them to put their concerns into action.

Lizz -- Two questions -- who created these so called "legal and cultural barriers ... that create a feeling of powelessness"? And, what good is "concern" unless those concerns are put into action? You are rationalizing the fact that the majority of Japanese like being treated like children by their elected offials and bureaucrats, even though they voted for them and pay their salaries. That is utter B.S. It is time for people in Japan to stop blaming the "system" and look themselves in the mirror and take some responsibility instead of just paying taxes to a goverenment that is dysfunctional, in almost every respect. There is a vulgar expression in English that says" Don't p&ss on me and tell me its raining". But the people of Japan have willingly accepted this for decades. Respectfully, even though this is a "matter of life and death" I see much more shaganai than I do any meaningful action.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I can only laugh and say I told you so (for the umpteenth dozen time). But don't get me wrong, after that I get pretty bummed out -- I don't enjoy being right all the time about how pathetic the government here is, or how transparent, or that in a short time we'll start hearing the truth. It's really quite depressing that the government fights against foreign advice and involvement all the time and then later has to admit said advice was correct while they pretend it's original thought, etc.

This entire government needs to be shipped off to work the plants in Fukushima, opposition included. This government is next to the US in terms of proving who voting simply does not work, and that the politicians who get the job in Japan have been groomed since birth and the people have no real say in who becomes PM.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This government is next to the US in terms of proving who voting simply does not work,

smith -- agree with your post with the exception of the above comment. While the U.S. certainly does make some mistakes in electing certain folks to office, we usually correct those mistakes in two or at most four years. We don't let 50 years of election mistakes/government ineptitude to persist.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Nuclear Safety Agency and Electric Power companies should be independent organization. Nuclear Safety Agency should not promote the nuclear power but should regulate all about the safety in the first place. This is very ridiculous and unbelievable.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

dirty rotten scoundrels

1 ( +1 / -0 )

First the Chubu Electric Power Co. lied, and now it seems that the Shikoku Electric Power Co. also lied in trying to sway opinion at public meetings on nuclear power issues. And when did all of this occur ... in 2007. And who was in power during this time? Why the Liberal Democratic Party, of course. And this morning (Sunday) I saw LDP politicians on TV attacking Prime Minister Kan for his handling of all of this mess. These scoundrals in the LDP should be taking their own party apart, not trying to dismantle Minshuto. Probably the LDP wants to hurry up and return to power so that they can hush up all of the bad things that happened when they were running the country.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Deep Pockets.

That report was that the IAEA was totally bought.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I agree.

This is intolerbale!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

herefornow,

I totally agree with you & believe me I know how deep & how long the corruption has gone on, to listen to those idiots in the LDP spout off at Kan, when it was the LDP & their cronies that set up & ran the corruption scams since the end of the war is infuriating.

Yeah I know deep down real change is unlikely, but a guy can dream a bit after a few cold ones now & then cant he LOL. Thing is the wife is Japanese & I have been here a long time so it wud be hard & sad to leave, but I also know I ahd better plan for it & hope the wife wud agree if push comes to shove.

I just hoped 3/11 was big enough to stri real change, but so far it looks like Japan wud need a much bigger disaster than the one we have now to inflict real change & that pisses me off bigtime

If I win the summer Jumbo then I will set up back home & here & be good, wish me luck haha

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nuclear safety regulations in Japan are much the same as their food safety regulations - non-existant. Making money is the name of the game - protecting kids doesn't even rate.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

herefornow: "We don't let 50 years of election mistakes/government ineptitude to persist."

You're right. I was a little overboard in saying the US is the epitome of what's wrong with politics, and they would not put up with for 50 years -- I was merely expressing my frustration with what seems like a universal deadlock in the system, and let's face it the last decade of politics in the US has been nothing but two parties pitted against each other and saying 'no' on every single issue simply for the sake of opposition.

The state of affairs here is indeed more pathetic and not second to the US, for at least in the US the two parties actually engender different values, whereas in Japan they are exactly the same, and in fact all of the DPJ bigwigs are former LDP who either got kicked out or quit because of scandals and/or not getting their way. We see scandals like this question planting over and over to cover the butts of the DPJ for mistakes made by the LDP and their cronies in the electric companies. And what will we see tomorrow? We'll see the LDP criticizing the Kan cabinet and DPJ in general for this, and we'll see Kan saying we need to wean ourselves of nuclear energy while we know full well that when he steps down the next person will say we must build more plants.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Maybe they were afraid someone will ask if the people have a right to avoid radiation exposure and live a healthy life like someone asked in a meeting held in Fukushima City on July 19. The answer has now drawn over 150,000 views on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVuGwc9dlhQ&feature=player_embedded

1 ( +1 / -0 )

NRT00: I posted that a while ago... simply blows your mind, doesn't it?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nuclear safety agency

Planting questions... the Nuclear safety agency planting questions... I keep saying it and I can't believe it, just goes to show how currupt everything is.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

oberst: "The mayor of Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Saturday criticized the government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency after revelations continued to emerge that several electric power companies had been asked by the agency to have local residents pose questions in favor of Japan’s nuclear projects at symposiums......................................"

But why didn't the mayor bother to complain about hazards and dangers until it was after the fact?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The media needs to hammer these nuclear issues home like it did during the Recruit scandal in 1989. That wrecked a conservative government because of the vigilance of the press. They never let up. A homegrown scandal pursued to the end by a homegrown press. Every night for nearly a year television had accounts of Recruit stock and cash finding their way into politicians' accounts. Eventually LDP beneficiaries of Recruit favors had to give up and resign, including the prime minister. The new men were cut from the same conservative cloth as those they deposed. But it did reveal that public pressure from below could bring down the ruling establishment.

Of course the State will appear to win in the short run because seismic shifts in mindset towards greater reform and review take decades to accomplish. There isn't even a mechanism in Japanese courts to bring a class action lawsuit. In a very real sense harmony and paternalism is the price (or priviledge) of living in the country. But earlier scandals shattered old assumptions of their times and modern Japan is far more open, welcoming of self-criticism and politically less corrupt than even 30 years ago, So I am still optimistic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

politically less corrupt than even 30 years ago

Are you sure about that? I figure between 20-30% of our various taxes are being wasted/stolen/kickbacked at least in present times, do you think it was worse prior to say 1990............

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree with a previous poster. Please put all Japanese government (both parties) to work at the Fukushima reactors. They are responsible for this so why should they get to sit at home eating foreign foods while others suffer? Put them on site at Fukushima Daiichi!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Are you sure about that? I figure between 20-30% of our various taxes are being wasted/stolen/kickbacked at least in present times, do you think it was worse prior to say 1990....."

It is still endemic but at least the legal system has been strengthened to deal with bureaucratic corruption and dangō etc and the electoral reforms of 1994 reduced the quantity of funds required by candidates for election campaigning.

Before the collapse of the machine in the early 1990's and the 1994 strengthening of the Political Funds Control law. it was probably one of the worst in the world judging by frequency of scandals, prominence of those involved, amount of money, etc. Look at the data by groups like Transparency International. Measures of less (perceived) corruption have been going up steadily in Japan every year since at least 2002.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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