Lack of crisis information regretted

Kyodo

A former Cabinet aide to ex-Prime Minister Naoto Kan expresses regret in his soon-to-be-published book over the lack of information provided by the government immediately after the start of the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Tetsuro Fukuyama, an Upper House lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, says in the book — based on his personal notes written while serving as a deputy chief Cabinet secretary — that he believes the lack of information led the United States to question the Japan’s ability to control the disaster.

The lawmaker also says in the book that the failure of Kan’s office to swiftly respond to a request made by U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos on March 14 and 15 last year to allow the dispatch of American nuclear experts to help policymakers at the prime minister’s office “may have further stirred up (U.S.) anxiety and a sense of distrust.”

The book, published by Chikumashobo Ltd. in Japanese, is titled “Genpatsukiki — Kantei karano shogen” (Nuclear Crisis — Testimonies from the Prime Minister’s Office). It is the first book by a Kan aide on the government’s response to the Fukushima crisis.

Fukuyama also said Kan’s office believed plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. proposed withdrawing all of its workers from the Fukushima complex in the early days of the crisis, and called then-Tepco President Masataka Shimizu after Kan and relevant Cabinet ministers discussed the issue on March 15.

The utility denies it intended to remove all the workers and said it had proposed a partial withdrawal.