Worried Fukushima cops considered fleeing posts after 3/11

Kyodo

Many Fukushima police officers struggled with fears of death and thought about fleeing when they were evacuating citizens from areas close to Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant during the catastrophe that started in March 2011, according to a survey.

Of 125 polled police officers who worked near the nuclear power plant amid the crisis, 41 percent said they considered abandoning their duties due primarily to worries about their own and their relatives’ safety, according to the poll conducted by Keio University professor Yoshiki Kobayashi and released Thursday.

Some 68 percent feared death.

However, none actually left the site. Ninety-one percent said they were able to continue their work because they had “a sense of solidarity with coworkers.”

Eighty-five percent attributed their motivation to “a sense of responsibility or pride.”

The police officers worked near the crippled plant from March 12 to 14, 2011, when a series of hydrogen explosions occurred at the plant, as well as three reactor core meltdowns, after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.