Tepco exec’s interview records seized in probe

JIJI

Prosecutors have seized records of a government panel’s interviews with Masao Yoshida, the former manager of Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant, as part of their criminal probe into Japan’s worst atomic plant disaster, sources said Monday.

The seizure was initiated because Yoshida cannot present himself for long interviews with the prosecution because of an illness, the sources said.

The action is unusual in that the records of the interviews conducted to shed light on the disaster, instead of an actual witness, will be used in the criminal investigation.

Yoshida dealt with the crisis until he resigned in December 2011 due to esophageal cancer.

He is among the parties accused of negligence for failing to ensure the six-reactor nuclear plant could withstand a major temblor and monster tsunami, and for failing to respond to the crisis in an appropriate manner.

Yoshida was in charge of Fukushima No. 1′s tsunami preparedness as head of Tepco’s Nuclear Asset Management Department in 2008, when the utility compiled an estimate that the complex was at risk of being hit by 15-meter-plus tsunami.

Cattle cesium varies

A team recently determined that radioactive cesium distribution varied from organ to organ in cattle abandoned in the 20-km-radius hot zone around the Fukushima No. 1 plant, which suffered three reactor core meltdowns in March 2011.

The density of radioactive cesium released from the plant was highest in muscle tissue but lower in thyroid glands, said the team, which was led by professor Manabu Fukumoto of Tohoku University’s Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer.