Nobelist Tanaka to join Diet panel probing nuclear crisis

Kyodo

The ruling and opposition parties are making final arrangements to appoint Nobel chemistry laureate Koichi Tanaka as a member of a special Diet committee investigating the causes of the triple-meltdown crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, sources said Tuesday.

The parties also plan to name Kiyoshi Kurokawa, 75, former president of the Science Council of Japan, as head of the panel, the sources said.

Ten panel members including Tanaka, 52, and Kurokawa are expected to be chosen by a joint council made up of members of the steering committees of both the Lower and Upper houses when the council meets Thursday.

The panel will be made up of experts from various fields, including nuclear power engineering, earthquakes and tsunami, radiology, and crisis management.

Neither Tanaka nor Kurokawa are experts on nuclear power, but they were chosen by the ruling and opposition camps in the belief that their wide expertise in science and technology could help in examining the crisis at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant, the sources said.

Tanaka, cowinner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in chemistry, was recognized for developing a method of analyzing life-forming proteins that paved the way for development of new medicines and early diagnosis of cancer. He is a fellow at Kyoto-based precision equipment maker Shimadzu Corp.

Kurokawa is a former professor of the University of Tokyo Faculty of Medicine and dean of Tokai University School of Medicine.