A Diet panel investigating the causes of the nuclear crisis recently interviewed key politicians who responded to the early stage of the emergency, bringing a long-unanswered question back into the spotlight: Did Tokyo Electric Power Co. really want to pull all of its workers out of the Fukushima No. 1 power plant?

Tepco has repeatedly denied the allegation, but all of the top-ranking officials handling the disaster at the time — including then Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano and industry minister Banri Kaieda — believed the utility was trying to abandon the plant.

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