national

TEPCO admits delay in declaring 'meltdown' was cover-up

54 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

54 Comments
Login to comment

Only took over 5 years to admit what it seems like everyone else in the world already knew....arseholes.

27 ( +30 / -3 )

But just the other day they denied it was a cover up. To the last they cannot help but be duplicitous.

How about an apology to the foreign experts and media?

21 ( +22 / -1 )

Little by little .....

Dirtbags, that's what they are!

13 ( +15 / -2 )

And they have been able to taint Minshinto, and blame former PM Kan, all the time knowing that it was a pure lie, and nobody will call them on it. I'd like to see Abe stand up and refute the information that the Edano and others forced them not to use the word meltdown, but it will be a cold day in hell when that happens!

22 ( +23 / -1 )

YubaruJUN. 22, 2016 - 06:59AM JST Only took over 5 years to admit what it seems like everyone else in the world already knew....arseholes.

Sadly, the fact that everyone else in the world already knew it (which rather reduces the need of TEPCO to say it) will likely not do much to stymie the chorus of "TEPCO lied!" I can hear approaching this thread with undeserved confidence.

You can call it a "meltdown", you can call it a "temporary fission surplus", or you can call it a "barbarbarbarbar". At the end of the day, the only thing that matters to the public is the microseivert reading of the areas they live in, work in, and travel through. Since those were taken independently of TEPCO and since independent readings broadly agreed with each other, I'd actually argue whether or not we call this event a "meltdown" just plain doesn't really matter in terms of health and safety - it's just an argument over who gets to control the narrative.

-17 ( +4 / -20 )

So, now there is an admission of downplaying the severity of the 'meltdowns' will there be a criminal investigation resulting in criminal charges for exposing possibly thousands of people to radiation? By downplaying the severity of the meltdowns they let people take their time to evacuate exposing them to more radiation than was necessary. They are criminals and should be treated as such. It's also interesting that they keep coming back to blaming the government. I distinctly remember ex-PM Kan screaming at the TEPCO boss to give him a straight answer. It's just another pitiful lie in an attempt to cover their butts!

So, let's examine the over all facts. TEPCO has admitted the meltdowns were a man-made disaster by failing to improve safety and fiddling the books to state they were done. They have now also admitted they attempted to cover up the severity of the meltdowns exposing thousand of people to excessive doses of radiation. They have wasted billions of yen trying to dismantle the damaged reactors and thousand of tons of radioactive water is leeching into the sea every week. They have failed in nearly every attempt to stop the water leeching. They have nearly a thousand tanks of highly radioactive water stored around the plant in tanks that were only designed to last five years, none of which are 'tsunami safe'. They have the yakuza controlling the contractors at the plant and scalping cash from the workers and the government. They have also refused all offers of help from international experts because they don't want the world to know what is actually going on in Fukushima. And, nobody is facing any criminal charges what-so-ever! TIJ! This is Japan!

24 ( +26 / -2 )

DisillusionedJUN. 22, 2016 - 07:20AM JST By downplaying the severity of the meltdowns they let people take their time to evacuate exposing them to more radiation than was necessary.

Do you have evidence to support that claim? Because that's what you'll need if you want there to be a criminal trial. The word "meltdown" describes the state of the radioactive fuel inside the reactor, not the level of radiation outside the reactor.

-18 ( +5 / -23 )

How about an apology to the foreign experts and media?

If it wasn't such a serious matter, the meltdowns that is, I would be laughing my butt off and rolling on the floor at this comment.

Be a cold day in hell before TEPCO or any other Japanese company willingly apologizes for anything, even to the Japanese people themselves, let alone the foreign media or experts.

I can count on one hand in over 30 years of living here that I have heard ANY Japanese person or business or government employee, sincerely (key word) sincerely apologize for anything here.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Seriously after all this time they came forward to admit a coverup. hmmm. sounds fishy nevertheless and a part of an agreement made behind closed doors. What about the fact of raising the exposure limits to say that everything was allright. The exposure limits are huge key and incredibly were raised during the same disucssuions as TEPCO and the government both were reassuring the people that the limits were well above the safe limit and everything was ok, with no exposure yet people are dying of thyroid cancer in that area, while others outside the immediate area will take longer years to start exhibiting signs as they fail to recognize or doctors make a connection.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

yet people are dying of thyroid cancer in that area,

Are they dying of it? Do you have evidence of that?

-22 ( +3 / -25 )

"My bad."

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

TEPCO admits delay in declaring 'meltdown' was cover-up

Stand by for imminent inaction in response.

Ginza tonight, anyone?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Are they dying of it? Do you have evidence of that?

You read enough of JT to even need to ask this question. Use the search function at the top of the page and enlighten yourself.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

I knew that! It seems that TEPCO is still hiding more unknown truths besides meltdown.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I sense a great late-career move to the NRA.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

it was extremely regrettable

Japan really needs a legal system that would put these criminals in jail

11 ( +12 / -1 )

If TEPCO are only just admitting what happened on day one I am very scared to think of what has happened since.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

A 10% + 30% pay cut for one month to take responsibility? Can we stop with this superficial nonsense please Japan, it's extremely insulting.

These people, who have admitted to covering up a nuclear plant meltdown, have played with people's lives, and as a result should be FIRED from their jobs. If it ended there they should think themselves extremely fortunate, however they should probably face prison sentences for gross negligence, or even fraud - as they have willfully deceived the nation for the betterment of their company and in turn their own pockets.

Bowing, moshiwakenai-ing, taking a 10% pay cut, is an insult, and it's about time Japanese people made a serious effort to try and sort this cretinous behaviour out.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE NOT IN JAIL? Sorry for the yelling but seriously. They're not only allowed to get away with covering up a huge disaster that could have gotten even worse, but they were allowed to make a profit all while taking tax payer money.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

"Hirose said he will take a 10 percent pay cut, and another executive will take a 30 percent cut, for one month each to take responsibility."

Yup, so that solves it! Everyone back to work, move along now, nothing to see here...

The traditional Japanese way of taking responsibility had some meaning, this is the complete opposite, a sad joke and a degradation of the very concept of "responsibility" to a level rivaling that of the coverup itself.

Japan, what happened to you?

12 ( +13 / -1 )

A 10% pay cut for one month?

We might as well get that nursery school teacher to force fed them wasabi. At least that would be entertaining.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow! A 10% pay cut for a WHOLE month?? Gotta love how nothing is a crime here.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

..................beyond the pale!!!

Why aren't these criminals behind bars, keys thrown away!!!!

What can we expect 5 years from now a report showing much more radiation was released................my mind is going to have a meltdown................

This country treats its own with such utter contempt, I just cant find words for this CRAP!

What an awful day to be a gaijin or Japanese living in Japan, govt & big biz have so much less than zero credibility its impossible to actually describe in words, man I need to dust off my exit strategy, there is so little hope for this country...........

6 ( +8 / -2 )

YubaruJUN. 22, 2016 - 07:43AM JST You read enough of JT to even need to ask this question. Use the search

I recall articles where it was reported that increased screening was leading to increased detection of thyroid tumors (with no evidence given as to if those tumors were cancerous or benign nor how the detection rate compared with the population at large.) I don't recall any news stories of an increased death rate. Such information is obviously critical to the discussion. It's never a good sign for the rationality of your argument when your case revolves around, "look it up yourself."

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

Wouldn't trust a guy with a girls name anyway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This so depressing to read. The outside world generally holds the Japanese in very high regard. Yet, the more I live here, the more I learn of rampant corruption, dishonesty, lying to the public, lack of care for its own citizens and stealing taxpayers' money, and realize that this impression is a total sham. All countries have their problems, but Japan seems to try harder than others to hide its problems.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Saying it is understandable why the public would assume something, is far, far, far from an admission. But, this antinuclear rag makes that false assumption.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

It was extremely regrettable.....no, it was extremely criminal

7 ( +8 / -1 )

So you lied twice, once 5 years ago and one just last week. Why is there no punishment or governance for any of this?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

And they have been able to taint Minshinto, and blame former PM Kan, all the time knowing that it was a pure lie, and nobody will call them on it. I'd like to see Abe stand up and refute the information that the Edano and others forced them not to use the word meltdown, but it will be a cold day in hell when that happens!

Bang on. On the 5th. anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and meltdown earlier this year there was a massive, co-ordinated, global media PR push by the pro-nuclear lobby to blame PM Kan for the subsequent deaths of those who passed away after being evacuated from their homes in Fukushima. Pretty much every major English-language media site I saw had articles about the anniversary and those with comment sections were swamped with anti-Kan and pro-nuclear posts. Many pet scientists ( mostly British ) were also rolled out in a shameful display of paid-for propaganda.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Why is there no punishment or governance for any of this?

Everything about TEPCO has been disgusting since 3/11, the free money they received, the way they handled compensation NOT, workers condition, pocketing on cleaning cost, etc... all are outrageous. I don't understand why WE the govt are still into that crook company at 50% more, well...in fact, I know perfectly why.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Citizen2012: goes long before 2011! They have a long history of or rupture and cover-ups.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This man is human garbage. Japan needs a whistle-blower law.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Ian Robertson: "The outside world generally holds the Japanese in very high regard. Yet, the more I live here, the more I learn of rampant corruption, dishonesty, lying to the public, lack of care for its own citizens and stealing taxpayers' money, and realize that this impression is a total sham."

Welcome to the real Japan. Most of us have been here for a while, though some refuse to admit it still. Under all the lovely things and nice points about the culture is an ugliness every bit as bad as other nations and in many cases worse. It is WORSE, for example, that these people can do whatever they want, get away with it, and then when it's revealed later cannot be punished because "there is no law" or "what they did was not illegal", when in fact it is VERY illegal and there SHOULD be laws on it. If you need more proof, just click on teh link below this to where Mitsubishi is admitting it falsified more documents, and politicians saying, "It's regrettable, but we can't punish Mitsubishi because there are no laws against what they did." They LITERALLY say that!! What does Hirose say, "Well, it wasn't me, so I would call it a cover-up, yes. It's regrettable. We were pressured by the former government. Oh, but no more investigations into that issue! Nope! No more questions about it."

Shame on Japan!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

“It’s extremely regrettable.” There's that line, again...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

An investigative report released last Thursday by three company-appointed lawyers said TEPCO’s then-President Masataka Shimizu instructed officials not to use the specific description under alleged pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office, though the investigators found no proof of such pressure.

The lawyer who prepared the " investigative report" was Sasaki Zenzo, who was the same lawyer who prepared the "3rd party report" on "inappropriate but not illegal" spending of former Tokyo Governor Masuzoe Yoichi. I think he will write whatever the client wants.

TEPCO announced right after the accident "Prime Minister's Office stopped the use of sea water to cool the reactors." But it turned out that it was a "TEPCO employee" who was attending a meeting at the Prime Minister's Office that stopped the use of sea water. I bet that "the pressure from the Prime Minister's Office" this time is also the pressure from their employee who happened to be there. Of course, the investigative report refuses to name who "the Prime Minister's Office" is.

Calling a meltdown something else is not a crime by any law in Japan. TEPCO executives are so sure that the "investigative report" does no harm to them at all. No one faces any criminal charges and no one has to pay a penny.

YubaruJUN. 22, 2016 - 06:59AM JST

Only took over 5 years to admit what it seems like everyone else in the world already knew....arseholes

They deliberately targeted this time right before the election to revenge former PM Kan and the Democrats.

The current estimate of the total damage that the NPP accident caused and that TEPCO is liable for is 7.65 trillion yen, of which the government is to assist by giving TEPCO 7.48 trillion yen. http://www.ndf.go.jp/gyomu/tokujikei/kaitei20160331.pdf

This is just ridiculous.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Sorry doesn't work anymore.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

For students of Japan, this case and also the Olympus whistle blowing incident (or rather the establishment's reaction to it) are very telling examples about how Japanese power works in practice.

The bubble classic 'The Enigma of Japanese Power' probably goes furthest to explain its workings. If you have never read it, please do. After reading it, nothing should surprise you, but TEPCO still goes beyond what I thought the Japanese establishment would dare.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I called this years ago. This isn't even the worst part. When TEPCO was calculating compensation for residents in the surrounding areas, it took radiation readings from the rooftops - some three metres above ground level (so as to get lower readings and thus lower compensation payouts). Ah, but all in a days work for Japan Inc.! But, every other country is this corrupt, right bullfighter?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

We used to have two nuclear power stations here in California, San Onofre and Diablo Canyon. San Onofre has already been closed down, and it is in the news today that the utility operating Diablo Canyon has agreed to shut it down.

Both San Onofre and Diablo Canyon, like the reactors at Fukushima, were built along the sea-shore, to take advantage of the ocean water, but neither of them was built with the ability to withstand a tidal wave like the one that struck at Fukushima. The public has since realized that it is only a matter of time until either or both of the nuclear reactors in California suffer the same fate as the one at Fukushima, and they are both being taken out of service, since it is not practical to pretend that a nuclear reactor can be built to withstand a major earthquake and tidal wave.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@john bosnitch, above....right on. Indeed ...what happened to Japan? Sigh.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Absurd. Absolutely stupid. Look at what he said and read beyond the headline, people. He is saying that TEPCO wanted to prevent speculation. Sounds great to me.

First of all, I need to point out the obvious. There was NOBODY, and NO SENSOR that could have detected a meltdown beyond any reasonable doubt in March. 2011. While the world was playing "worst case scenario" as all journalists these days are wont to do, TEPCO was trying to give AUTHORITATIVE information. It did so. It announced what people in the region needed to know for that emergent situation. . At that very time, the head of the US NRC was telling Congress that half of Japan would be destroyed. Kan was getting all of Tokyo in an uproar and emptying stores.

This whole cover up narrative ignores something that must be included: different from all the actors running around panicking in mid March, it was TEPCO that stuck to solving the problem and got er done.

Promptly, prudently and in due course, they shared the technical information that they had and let people know what had happened, but that was much later. They reported facts when they had the facts. And those facts were not verifiable until months after the CNN white knucklers had made their coin.

Now. That is the fact. The political situation is much more complicated, isn't it? Then and now, politicians have to dance to the popular tune from domestic and foreign sources. Panic. Hysteria. Flying in helicopters. Cracking the whip. Sending people running for the hills on snowy roads. Shutting down plants around the country that have no problems whatsoever. That is what politicians did, and it amounted to zip for the people of Tohoku.

TEPCO is playing the game now too. They will throw anyone under the bus, and nuclear technology too, just to keep their regulators and ratepayers happy. They get a guy up on the mike to say that giving factual information to people who were desperate to get the politicians and journalists to shut up was simply "covering up".... and he just earned TEPCO a few billion in relaxed regulations and rate increases on all those millions of customers sooner rather than later. "Let's just say what everyone wants to hear and get past it."

It is a disgrace. His statements mark a triumph of politics and absolute neglect of the truth.

In a time of horrible disaster, I WANT people to avoid speculation and give me facts. TEPCO and the Kahoku Shimpo did that for me and my family and it was a great service. I can count on one hand the number of newspapers worldwide that did the same.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

5Speedracet5: "it was TEPCO that stuck to solving the problem and got er done"

Complete and utter BS! SHIMIZU LITERALLY ran, and orders were given to abandon the plant. Fortunately some individuals did NOT toe the TEPCO line and stayed, else Tokyo would be uninhabitable.

"In a time of disaster, I WANT people to avoid speculation and give me facts. TEPCO android the Kahoku Shimpo did that..."

Now I KNOW you're just joking with us... TEPCO spent the first days of the disaster HIDING the truth, and the weeks after. Kan had to threaten them to find out what was going on since they would not tell them and SHIMIZU and others had fled.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

5Speedracet5: it's not big science and no need for sensor: a nuclear reactor with no more cooling system and power melt down. Period! In Fukushima there were 3 that confirmed it if still needed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tepco should not exist any longer. Their lax management led to the meltdown and their response let to loss of lives and radiation pouring into the Pacific today. They lied then and they lie now. They are a horrible company that if the LDP was not in their back pocket would have gone bankrupt long, long ago. It is sad. Every chance Tepco gets they screw people over. PM Kan was and still a hero for going after Tepco when they hid from the public after the meltdown.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The outside world generally holds the Japanese in very high regard.

Outside world? Who holds Japan in high regard? I am curious. That question by the way is not meant to be argumentative either. I AM curious who you think holds Japan in high regard.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Only a few hours after 3/11, according to one of the partially declassified emails released from Hillary Clinton's private email server on 1/29, it appears there was a detailed memo sent out from an agent in Tokyo warning about radiation leakage from Fukushima while acknowledging Japanese government and TEPCO were still actively denying any sort of a leak. This email was distributed amongst the top ranks of US State Dept.

Look for ' Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05780602 '

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Heda_Madness: it most certainly would be. One of the reasons why Akan was furious and desperate for your pals in the industry to stop lying. But tell us. head, where was SHIMIZU? You going to say he didn't run? Is that not a fact?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Really... so the advisers to both the British and American governments (ESPECIALLY the American governments) who ran multiple worst case scenarios came to the conclusion that even under the worst case scenario that Tokyo would have been fine. Even in the worst possible scenario.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

panamacanalJUN. 23, 2016 - 09:22AM JST

Only a few hours after 3/11, according to one of the partially declassified emails released from Hillary Clinton's private email server on 1/29, it appears there was a detailed memo sent out from an agent in Tokyo warning about radiation leakage from Fukushima while acknowledging Japanese government and TEPCO were still actively denying any sort of a leak.

Denying leagae? There were numerous radiation monitoring posts around Fukushima Daiichi NPP and other NPPs all over Japan that kept sending real-time reading of radiation to the internet. http://www.tepco.co.jp/cc/press/betu11_j/images/110528d.pdf

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Just remind me... who was the prime minister and the party on power during that event??

...oh yes...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

bjohnston23,

What about the fact of raising the exposure limits to say that everything was allright. The exposure limits are huge key and incredibly were raised during the same disucssuions as TEPCO and the government both were reassuring the people that the limits were well above the safe limit and everything was ok

Exposure limits? Are you talking about those for the emergency workers?

This whole hoo-hah over an ill-defined word shows the mendacity of a large section of the press (who wrote the article? Oh, Mari Yamaguchi! Quelle surprise!). Wiki gives this on "Nuclear Meltdown":

A nuclear meltdown is an informal term for a severe nuclear reactor accident that results in core damage from overheating. The term is not officially defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency or by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Informal term for an accident that results in core damage...

TEPCO is being accused of not using the word the media wanted. What a crime!

Will our media be insisting on hyped-up informal terms in other reporting? I'm looking forward to "President X rubbed-out by gangstas" etc...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sorry yakyak but unfortunately sorry DOES work with these guys in Japan - nothing has happened to them, a paltry 10% paycut!? It's obscene.

What about the people that hung themselves because their family farms were radioactive, the hundreds of thousands put out, displaced, made homeless, the health concerns and stress, increases of cancer cases (wait til those get explained away as 'regrettable' or not attributed to accident)

So frustrating - and those of us who thought as much and posted as much here were often seen as being "anti-Japanese"

Vile behavior and the fact that it goes unpunished is really really sad and guarantees further rotten behavior on the part of TEPCO as well as other utilities, or corporations for that matter -

0 ( +0 / -0 )

muttinjapan

What about the people that hung themselves because their family farms were radioactive, the hundreds of thousands put out, displaced, made homeless, the health concerns and stress, increases of cancer cases (wait til those get explained away as 'regrettable' or not attributed to accident)

Turning that around, what about the people who scaremongered about the radiation, lead people to think they were contaminated and unclean, boosted the stress of evacuees, and lead people to evacuate who could have stayed put?

As for the cancer cases, the people investigating them say they are unlikely to be caused by the accident, for a whole host of reasons: the screening effect, the age groups they are showing up in, and the order to stop foods contaminated by radiation hitting the market.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites