politics

Kan says pro-nuclear mentality to blame for Fukushima disaster

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Im looking forward to what he has to say. His performance during the crisis was far from perfect but he was also handcuffed by appaling incompetence up and down the line.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

+1 for hoserfella's previous comment. I wish Kan stayed on as Prime Minister. Given the constraints and mass incompetence and red tape he had to wade through when he was trying to solve the nuclear problems, I actually think he did a decent job, and he had my trust. It was pretty obvious he wasn't putting his own agenda at the forefront of his priorities, unlike the weasels we have running the circus today.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I don't really give a hoot, now that the damage has been clearly done. I just want answers to what the future will look like in cleaning up this mess and the energy crisis we are facing. But that's now Kan anymore is it... too many prime ministers.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Kan will be appreciated when history has passed further into the past. He was just what Japan needed that day and for the ensuing catastrophes.

8 ( +11 / -4 )

I still wish Kan was in office. While I don't dislike Noda as much as I thought, Kan has been the best we've had in years... actually decades. Skip the praise for Koizumi for anyone even daring. He was part of this huge mess.

I can't believe TEPCO just wanted to bail and let it take its course and yet, we give our tax money to this company?? Unreal.

4 ( +6 / -1 )

Did I read this right? TEPCO refused to cooperate with the Diet study? Send them an order to appear and if they refuse drag them in handcuffs and force them to testify under a threat of imprisonment! I am still amazed that nobody has been held criminally liable for the years of incompetence and disregard for safety standards. Prime Minister Kan did his best in this situation and I think history will give him the credit he deserves.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

By government he includes past governments, namely the LDP in bed with the nuclear village, as they pushed for nuclear power; with hundreds of bureaucrats guaranteed a nice post-retirement job in an electric utility, in exchange for easy regulations and stage-managed inspections, through to lack of supervision and zero oversight...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

TEPCO, which refused to co-operate with the study

What? WHAT? Call in the law immediately, and cancel every yen of our tax being paid as salary to these criminal incompetents. Oh no, wait...just sigh and say "Shoganai". That's the correct response.

11 ( +13 / -1 )

That panel said it was Kan who ordered TEPCO, which refused to co-operate with the study, to keep men on site.

Kan saved Tokyo and alot of lives, TEPCO wanted to run away and get all staff out, the "Fukushima 50" only stayed because they were ordered to by Kan and NOT by Tepco.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

He's more honest than the others Prime Minister Kan did his best

But we don't care how he compares with people worse than him. What he did was totally amateurish. That would be under the level expected for a village's mayor. He had no efficient public communication team at all, he only threw random declarations, unprepared, unchecked, incoherent. That will be debated a lot because it's obvious. The worst is less visible. And much more serious. It appears he ordered all the experts, and logistic teams that specialize in disaster management to shut it up and do nothing before he call them, which he did weeks later. So roughly, that was grand-pa Kan, playing the captain of the boat, alone in his office, and navigating in the fog, from the deck... while the boat had a machine room with radars. Heroic ? No,it's beyond incompetence.

I think history will give him the credit he deserves.

No, he'll be forgotten because we have been "lucky". I mean Fukushima's evolution had been relatively good. It could not have "exploded" but it was likely to become much worse. The evacuation of population order should have been total for 30 km, and for 100km families and as many as possible should have left, from the first hours. Roughly, that's what the US said for their citizens as they had the same data as Kan. If the plant had "collapsed" and there had been a major radioactive release, today we'd be counting death and irradiated people and we'd say "if Kan had followed expert advice, there would be 100 000 thousand victims less...".

The LDP is on the top of the political blame pile

Sure. There should be 2 "trials". One about the crisis management (Kan's case). And one about the whole rotten system of the nuclear industry in Japan, since its start. 3/11 was not TEPCO's first, nor second, nor third... scandal, and governments have all failed to react adequately.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

And one about the whole rotten system of the nuclear industry in Japan, since its start. 3/11 was not TEPCO's first, nor second, nor third... scandal, and governments have all failed to react adequately.

Sad, isn't it? A complacent, inept company, overcharging people for years, that wanted to run away from the massive problem THEY created (let's not forget human error on 3/11 due to the poor training and safety standards) who continue to get bail out money and who have yet to have criminal charges laid against anyone. It is things like this that make me feel that Japan is playing one huge game of Russian roulette with the population. How many more times does this company have to screw up before they actually get a smack on the nose for their behaviour? How much BS do we have to uncover before a former manager/pres gets arrested and charged? It really is all a pathetic joke.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Wait, was this was updated?

Kan takes the heat but where is Koizumi, Aso and all the other lame PM's we've had in the past 10 years? Why aren't THEY also stepping up and stating that they screwed up by letting this crap happen. Kan wasn't the one who allowed these plants to be built on fault lines, Kan wasn't the one that okay'd these crappy little walls, Kan wasn't the one that allowed anyone to be put in charged or in a management position.... Where are all the other PMs who should be stepping up and taking responsibility for what THEIR party did. Kan's party is new (yes, I know, same old party, same old crap) and I hope the public remembers who starting digging these graves....

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The people who until yesterday complained that they were lied to by the government after the disaster, are now saying they still want the prime minister of that government in the office??? Is it strange or what???

Kan has done a few good things during the crisis - true. However the performance of his government and himself as a whole was less than satisfactory. There was a strong criticism in all Japanese media and in the Diet towards his office. The public opinion was strongly against him and his cabinet and it seems to be the main reason for his resignation as a PM.

He is taking the heat but not for the pro-nuclear attitude of the governments before him. He is being questioned now because of what he and his cabinet did after the accident.

Though I appreciate his antinuclear stance, his statements sound very much like he is trying to wash his hands clean by trying to shift the blame to others. TEPCO is responsible, yes, but the cabinet is not innocent either.
-8 ( +0 / -9 )

Lots and lots of former tepco bosses and govt ministers including some former PMs need to be dragged before the courts, what has gone on here is crimminal there are no other words to describe it.

To restore some credibility and faith in this nation the people responsible over the years who contributed to this mess must be charged and found guilty.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

But, he said, the “nuclear village”—a term critics often use to refer to the pro-atomic lobby of academics and power companies—had blinded the government in a way analogous to the rise of the powerful military elite that led Japan into the vicious colonialism that precipitated World War II.

Oh please! Once again the main culprits, the Bureaucrats - who cause havoc across all walks of life in Japan - get away with it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

but of course the major, yet predictable message in all of this is Japan has not learned one single thing. The political system which makes faceless, un-elected bureaucrats the defacto leaders (masters) still reign and a completely tamed, toothless populace shrug their shoulders with a whispered "shoganai". Even North Koreans have mustered more opposition to their masters.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What? WHAT? Call in the law immediately, and cancel every yen of our tax being paid as salary to these criminal incompetents. Oh no, wait...just sigh and say "Shoganai". That's the correct response.

Ivan -- so right. Only in Japan could a company be brazen enough to spit in the face of the public by refusing to take part in a probe, and then receive trillions of yen in public money -- to recover from its decades of negligence and incompetence. Japan Inc. still rules, and always will, no matter what Kan says. And, as you say, the public just shrugs and goes on.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I told you, they are all lunatics playing with fire.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I actually think he did a decent job, and he had my trust.

Kan will be appreciated when history has passed further into the past. He was just what Japan needed that day and for the ensuing catastrophes.

Prime Minister Kan did his best in this situation and I think history will give him the credit he deserves

I don’t understand why (majority?) of the JT posters are in favor of Kan. I’m with Cos and JaneM.

According to the government internal meeting summaries, (released on March, 9 2012, detail meetings chaired by Kan and attended by other ministers and top government officials from the night of the nuclear crisis onwards until Dec.26), Kan and other officials were aware a meltdown was probable just hours after the plant lost power.

At the seventh meeting, held March 14, Kan said "the consensus of experts is that 20 km is enough," although Genba, who was the minister in charge of national strategy under the Kan administration, countered that "some experts have different views." Genba suggested the evacuation of people living within 50 km of the plant after the commission presented the scenario and evacuation plan.

Genba told Kan to prepare for the worst case scenario. Kan decided to withhold the worst case scenario to the public.

Kan didn’t order to keep the conference records.

Kan declined U.S. offer to station nuclear experts in his office.

Kan trusted (?) Madarama who said SPEEDI is useless, so he decided not to disclose SPEEDI data to the public. The people evacuated to Iitate-mura to the north west when SPEEDI showed north west is highly contaminated.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120310a1.html

http://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/singi/genshiryoku/pdf/gensai_gaiyo_01.pdf

http://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/singi/genshiryoku/pdf/gensai_gaiyo_04.pdfhttp://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/singi/genshiryoku/pdf/gensai_gaiyo_07.pdf

Maybe Kan did the best he could, but I don’t think he will be appreciated when history has passed further into the past.

0 ( +3 / -2 )

Nuclear disasters ruin the planet. Such a waste.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kan said,

the pro-atomic lobby of academics and power companies—had blinded the government......They ousted experts, politicians and bureaucrats critical of nuclear energy from the mainstream. Many others they sidelined so that they could maintain the status quo.

Albert Einstein the great thinker once said that the current global challenges cannot be solved by the same type of thinking that created them. Japan should use technologies suitable to its current condition and this will need innovative thinking and leadership from another generation of people, not those that promoted or benefit from its proriferation and currently in power or well connected to those in power such as the nuclear village clique. With japan's earthquake prone situation and lessons learnt, the only selling idea as of now should be gradual close of all nuclear reactions and reinvigorating research into alternative energy sources. Look at Germany for instance; after Fukushima incident Germany, with even no earthquake and tsunami scares, closed several nuclear plants and launched an innovation hub for renewables and the result? Germany's new solar gadget produces electricity equivalent to 20 nuclear plants!!!!! <http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/05/26/us-climate-germany-solar-idUKBRE84P0FI20120526 > Germany is already positioning itself as the clean energy partner of choice. Where is Japan in the innovation space for renewables, which is tomorrow's energy business of choice? Nuclear electricity has no future. Can japan's great thinkers and leaders of this generation stand up to be counted?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Only in Japan. And they'll get away with it, too, because this is Japan. But hey, if I'm wrong, go ahead and point out the measures being taken to bring these people to justice. ..... yeah, I thought not.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

TEPCO, one of the world’s largest utilities, whose tentacles of influence reach well inside Japan’s huge government bureaucracy

If that's the case, name them and and put them in jail for life.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kan is the hero that saved Japan from a far worse disaster! Why is it that the media doesn't seem interested in shedding light on the deep and shady ties between Tepco and the LDP! As they often say in Game of Thrones "I expect to see heads on spikes".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

pro-nuclear mindset IS NOT to blame for the accident at fukushima. HUBRIS and GREED are.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is an important criticism/admission by Kan. Still the government is too tight with the power companies. Fumio Sudo, chairman of NHK's Board of Governors was appointed as an outside director to TEPCO. He refused to step down (until two days ago) saying there was no conflict of interest.

Worse still, the government refused to criticize the appointment or put pressure on him because they said holding both posts broke no laws. What a poor excuse! No law can cover all possible situations, but a government unwilling to point out an obvious conflict of interest is one that smacks of still being too cosy with TEPCO.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Blair, yes, Kan made some very, very stupid errors (notes on meetings and the like) but if it wasn't for him, it could have been a lot worse. I can't think of one former PM with the balls to tell TEPCO to get in there and fight for the place - perhaps Koizumi but he's a snake who should be apologizing to the public right now for all the harm he did while in office. Kan isn't perfect by any means but no PM is and compared to the revolving door of duds we've had int he past 10 years, Kan is IMO, the best of them. The opposition attacking him on all of this is laughable as THEY are the ones that created this working, lack of safety, money in back pocket culture, not Kan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

they always make sense AFTER they are in office, why not WHILE they are in office?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A phrase I found very revealing was,

“The nuclear accident was caused by a nuclear plant which operated as national policy,”

In effect Kan is admitting that all national policy is treated as a sacred cow, beyond reproach, question or even reasonable and informed criticism. If this is the case then shouldn't this be the primary focus of any reform, i.e. ensuring that research and opinions that oppose current government policy are protected and have a forum to express their views?

For so long as "national policy" = unquestionable Japan will continue to face similar crises.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The testimony from Mr Kan has reflected the darkest side of Japanese politics and breaucracy!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

We can't expect not a single person from TEPCO's elite to ever see the inside of a jail cell. Nor will they ever lose a dime of their own money. Of course, I wish some punitive measures were taken but I'm a realist.

It sounds kind of absurd when I think about "Men in powerful positions over power they can't control".

As much as most people would want to deal with these old oyaji, the best action that could be taken now is a public revolt. The nuclear types must be removed from office and well as their acolytes. There will be unprecedented resistance to this and the nations police funded by nuclear money will work on the side of TEPCO and not it's citizens.

I've never seen it in Japan. All nations have such a period in their history. Even now in other nations blood is being shed in order to effect change. Corrupt men and crooked bureaucratic governments are being exposed.

When will Japanese take matters into their own hands? Are all the men and women here cowards?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

TEPCO, one of the world’s largest utilities, whose tentacles of influence reach well inside Japan’s huge government bureaucracy, has also been criticised for ignoring warnings about the potential dangers from quake-generated tsunamis.

Appropriate use of "tentacles". Makes me think of Krang on TMNT. TEPCO is an evil hideous creature . "has also been criticized..." TEPCO should be more than criticized. They should be fully blamed and stand trial.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Blair Herron: Actually the SPEEDI information sat on a fax machine it wasn't delivered to anyone important and if I remember correctly no one even knew SPEEDI existed, talk about a waste of government money and man power.

0 ( +0 / -1 )

I really like your points Tmarie. I never saw Koizumi or previous PMs doing anything about this.

They're all to blame. This was an accident waiting to happen, but now everyone tries to kick Kan. But nobody gets things right in a crisis. Go ask military people.

I still think the most unforgivable thing I've seen in politics anyway is when Kan was trying to do his best as PM in the worst crisis ever, PLUS have to battle with not only the opposition, but the opposition in his own party. Shameful.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

That's just it, everyone wants to blame Kan but the blame goes beyond him by years and political parties. This isn't a problem that just appeared overnight. It has taken decades to come to a head. Why are those heads not rolling as well? If anything, they're more responsible for it than Kan. Kan is the fall guy in this and it is sickening to watch. My how quickly the population is here with regards to forgetting and forgiving. Or it is just stupidity?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I don't agree completely with Kan, but he speaks out loud and says what is closer to my thoughts than other politicians who either lie or keep their mouths closed out of cowardice.

Kan should be reinstated as PM.

The main point I disagree with his statement that the government is most to blame. I don't agree. The government must take some blame for failing to keep the nuclear industry under control, but its the nuclear agency that created the need for outside control. These are the people who are supposed to be experts. Yet they loaded this quake and tsunami prone country with over 50 nuclear plants? Obviously the goal was profit, just like all those roads to nowhere. But those roads to nowhere don't explode and spew radioactive materials.

People in the government deserve some jail sentences for sure. But people in TEPCO and the nuclear industry deserve life in prison with no parole.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@TMarie, hands up to you. Yes, me too. I still wish Mr. Kan stayed as PM.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Rick Kisa

Your link re Germany and solar power and the Albert Einstein quote made my read of JT worth it today.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can japan's great thinkers and leaders of this generation stand up to be counted?

Rick - I think I've found a weak link in your chain of thought. You're making an assumption.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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