politics

Kan forced older nuclear plant workers to stay on duty after tsunami: report

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© 2011 AFP

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The headline seems to be insinuating that due to age the older ones shoulda got a pass. In today's world,especially in Japan, 60 is not that old.Particularly when for the most part,people here are living till 85+ easily. You work for the power plant, you should have to deal with the consequences and repercussions without bailing when it goes wrong cuz you claiming you too old.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

undemocratic order by Kan.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

TEPCO was ready to abandon the plant in the first few hours when it realised the seriousness of the disaster. Why is TEPCO still in business with behind the scene plans to restart reactors 4/5/6 and the plant at Fukushima II?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Kan, criminally underrated. Keep the Kan, don't kick it.

@S14S: Undemocratic? Not here.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

You cannot pull out and look on quietly. Then foreign countries could say We'll do it

Wow, even at times of life and death crisis, the PM of Japan is most concerned about saving international "face"

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

To me what Kan said to the TEPCO managment ready to withdraw from Daiichi knowing full well the disastrous consequences this would have had, shows that he DID demonstrate leadeship at the time of crisis.( despite what all his critics said ) And as Zichi says - why is Tepco still in business as usual mode ?keeping most of its assets intact and the ex president Shumizu walking away with 500 million yen golden parachute?.. seriously stinks

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The consequences of a walk away and let the reactors blow could have made the whole country uninhabitable, I suppose the T E P C O directors would be in a financial situation that would have allowed them to migrate a.s.a.p, thereafter.What is the total population that would have to be evacuated then and taken in if possible by other countries?It is only a supposition, in regards to the possibilities of the entire meltdown and I am in no way an expert on what the results may have been if Mr Kan had failed to put the boot into the T.E.P.C.O. executives

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I wrote before that most of Japan seemed to have forgotten that Kan exercised great leadership in making this decision, telling the Utility known as TEPCO not to abandon the Fukushima NPP, seen if it meant taking some casualties. There was no time for consensus building in the back rooms of Asakusa clubs or Ginza hotels, and the chance of losing 1,000 or so workers to radiation sickeness to save 30,000,000 or more residents is a small price to pay, unless of course you are one of the 1,000 .... though the consensus amongst nuclear workers worldwide is that they would stay at their post to the end.

Couldn't see any other politician in any of the major political parties making such a quick and critical decision.

Masao Yoshida, the plant manager, was also vilified for defying the inept TPECO management, continuing to flood the reactors to cool them down, a decision which was later credited with preventing a worse situation developing.

Two good guys, in the right place at the right time...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I hope Kan is one day seen as one of the greatest prime ministers in Japanese history. By Japanese standards, given the sort of shower who generaly get to the top, this was an act of Churchillian statesmanship.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) sought to withdraw from the Fukushima Daiichi plant on March 15 "

They should have been dismissed, sidelined, on March 12th or 13th and Tepco taken totally in charge by Japanese authorities. Even if that had not been a business with a criminal record, that was a total nonsense to let the total control to the company. When a nuclear accident happens, that's more than the responsability of the plant management. Emergency public requisition is the way to deal with it.

"There was no time for consensus building in the back rooms "

That was not the alternative at all. Japan had been prepared for State intervention in such cases, years ago when nuclear plants were handed to private operators. Kan being too busy, OK, but another minister, chould have called the different services and put them to deal directly with Fukushima... Instead, he told them to shut up and refrain from intervening, prevented anyone to access to the data.

"Then foreign countries could say ‘We’ll do it’"

Yes, Mr Kan, experts from over the world would have come without delay, and they'd have worked with all the teams of nuclear and disaster that exist in Japan to replace Tepco management...if you had not let the clowns that had already failed countless times keep the total control and prevents others to step in. You're a big liar as you came to tell us that Japan was accepting the international expertise.

The Tepco dudes and yourself have lost months at accumulating blunders and hiding them under the carpet. It's very likely that maintaining them has worsened the damages and exposed the plant workers more than necessary.

Nothing new. For me, Kan had no business being the head of a country. His refusal of international intervention is ridiculous pride. Especially in Japanese case, well another debate, but come on, you ate the American food in 1945, you'd have accepted a little help on that and Japanese pride would have recovered.

Hypothesis 1 : Kan discovered Tepco and their "criminal record" after the disaster, he discovered nuclear plants were not safe, he discovered everything that existed about nuclear safety in Japan including the existence of nationwide radiation monitoring ... all that months after the accident. The staff that prints the safety and prevention leaflets at the kuyakusho and my kanrinin knew more than their Prime Minister. Hypothesis 2 : As I don't believe that nobody would have told him about all that : He knew. And that doesn't make sense if he feared for Tokyo to trust so few people from a private organisation. Why his weird choices ? Ego or corruption ? Anyway, he seems totally dishonest.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Well, older nuclear power plant workers do have the most experience at uh, nuclear power plants....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good for Kan. The only thing he did wrong was not sending all the leaders from Tepco and the nuclear agency up there to clean up the mess years of too-cozy relationships caused -- personally.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The reason Kan focused on people older than 60 is that they are as likely to die of something else in the time it would take them to develop cancer from radiation exposure. It wasn't summer yet, so I doubt that Kan considered heat stroke. I'd like to buy Masao Yoshida a pint of his favourite brew. One man in this country with, how shall I put this, substantial apparati. Statues should be erected in his honour. This afternoon.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"There is no retreat when Japan’s existence is on the line,” Kan reportedly said, adding: “People aged 60 or older may as well go to the site.”

The report said he told the then president and chairman: “Prepare to meet your fate.”

The over-60 remark is made in response to TEPCO planning to abandon the plant. In other words, you need to keep enough people there to deal with it, so you might want to choose those over 60 (for reasons warnerbro pointed out above). I think this was good leadership. from Kan - and highlights once again the criminal irresponsibility of TEPCO.

Seems like Kan had a better grasp on the magnitude of unfolding events than the clowns who owned the damn thing. "Prepare to meet your fate." Good words from Kan, meaning: Man up and do the right thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tomorrow is a 10th anniversary of 9/11 here in US.

I remember how courageous these NYPD and NYFD were in time of crisis. They did not run away. Instead, they actually rushed inside the buildings trying to rescue victims who were trapped and helpless.

Many NYPD and NYFD ended up as victims in duty at the end. Tomorrow, we will pay respect and honor to these courageous heros with a sense of duty. Think about these passengers in UA flight #93, they tuckeled down these terrorists who were taking over the flight heading to Washington DC. They did not think about their safety and life. These are true heros.

When time of crisis, Americans stand up tall with courage. I am not sure if Japanese even have balls to act like us.

-12 ( +0 / -12 )

globalwatcher - yes, the firefighters and police of 9/11 were very brave, no question. But that is no excuse for crowing at a time like this ("When time of crisis, Americans stand up tall with courage. I am not sure if Japanese even have balls to act like us.")

Tomorrow (today, JST) also marks 6 months since the triple disaster hit Japan. For your information (and it's there in the article), it was the executive of TEPCO wanted to run away. Masao Yoshida, the head of the plant did not run away.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

hatsoff, You are right ("When time of crisis, Americans stand up tall with courage. I am not sure if Japanese even have balls to act like us.") It was not necessary to be mentioned. I apologize. Thank you for letting me know Masao Yoshida did not run away. Certainly, he know a word of COURAGE and a sense of duty.I appreciate everything what he has done for Fukushima Daiichi. These details have not been told to us.Thank you for getting me to the truth.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kan did as much as he was able to do, as honestly as he was able to do it. He was stymied at every turn by the politicians who had actually allowed TEPCO to do as they liked, and worked behind closed doors with said company for many years, while they jockeyed for political power and positions in a time of crisis. Kan is as honest as a politician can be. He has a long history of honesty.This honesty unfortunately doesn't allow him to be a "great politician". As for saying that the foreigners may come in, all countries would do the same thing. Can you imagine America or Russia, for example, allowing foreigners into their installations. All countries would try to get their spies into such teams as they would send. Sending in the 60 years old and over was also the correct move. The health ramifications of thyroid cancer being much less than those for younger people. Get off Kan's back people. He did as much, and possibly more than he was allowed to do.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So Kan ordered the useless idiots to stay on, even though they had no plan, idea or equipment? And TEPCO was just gonna run away? And Shimizu got ¥500,000,000??? Kan needs to be caught before he escapes to another country.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

@Iken. Kan is honest...isn't he being investigated for corruption?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I admire Kan for telling the executives to prepare to 'meet their fate'. I wish he had slapped the crap out of Shimizu and thrown him in one of the reactors and said 'deal with it' (in a TEPCO-protective suit, ie. allergy mask and hair net, of course).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Since none, with a reputable character that is, actually heard P.M. Kan say these things, it is most likely sour grapes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“There is no retreat when Japan’s existence is on the line,” Kan reportedly said, adding: “People aged 60 or older may as well go to the site.”

The report said he told the then president and chairman: “Prepare to meet your fate.”

Haha hehehe ....... I like how Kan told the clueless armchair warmers off.

These armchair warmers have Kan to thank for today. If Kan had not "shooed" them back to take care of this real nuclear disaster, would millions get to live to see the day now ? Probably not.

They are fated to have Kan as the PM at the right place and right time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kan was the head of the emergency task force. The crisis was more than what TEPCO could cope with alone. Nuclear power generation has been promoted as a basic national policy and part of the responsibility rests with the government. If so, he should first let the fact-finding committee investigate the nuclear crisis in depth and impartially. And we have yet to hear what Mr. Yoshida, head of the power plant has to say about it. He said to the power plant workers that whoever wanted to leave the power plant might leave and that they would not be held responsible for it. As it's a kind of "tokkotai" operation jeopardizing their life, he raised volunteers. As a result 70 people remained. Yoshida had no intention to abandon the plant. Whether the headquarters ordered him to stop pumping sea water into the reactors or abandon the plant, he knew what had to be done and he just did it. People on the spot (gemba) are generally brave and trustable. Kan having three major newspapers interview him as soon as he left office and telling how irresponsible and inept TEPCO and bureaucrats were and how he tried to do his best doesn't seem to be a so commendable behavior at this point.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

undemocratic order by Kan.

Yes, and thank god he did it too. Can you imagine what would have happened if he had left this to "democracy" - it doesnt bear thinking about. Imagine everyone abandoning the plant and leaving it to blow - 6 reactors (Ok,well, 4 as two were in shutdown).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I knew I liked the man.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well done Kan - in time of crisis some one has to make the hard decisions and he showed he had the balls to call it, pat him on the back, he most probably stopped tepco from killing us all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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