Madarame wants to exit Nuclear Safety Commission

Kyodo

Haruki Madarame, head of the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan, said Friday he is exhausted and wants to resign at the end of the month, whether a new nuclear watchdog is launched in April or not.

“I’m very exhausted mentally,” the former University of Tokyo professor said. “I really want to be let go on March 31,” the last day of the fiscal year.

The nation’s current nuclear regulatory regime consists of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and the NSC. The government has been trying to launch a new agency in light of the incompetence and oversights revealed by the Fukushima disaster but is encountering opposition in the Diet.

Madarame, 63, assumed his post in April 2010. Last March 12, he accompanied then Prime Minister Naoto Kan on an emergency fact-finding trip to the Fukushima No. 1 plant just hours before a series of explosions rocked it. Kan apparently lost trust in the scholar after Madarame told him an explosion was unlikely to happen.

Madarame said he was concerned about the timing of his departure. “I also know that I can’t decide on my own because it would have a large impact. I’ll consult with the (NSC) secretariat,” he said.