The Asahi Shimbun on Friday carried front page articles and an apology concerning an erroneous article that alleged workers fled the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant during the meltdown crisis in March 2011, retracting the scoop story that drew strong criticism from the public, lawmakers and government officials.

On Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga urged the country's leading liberal daily to recover the tarnished honor of parties involved, apparently referring to plant workers at Tokyo Electric Power Co.

The front page apology followed Thursday's news conference in which Asahi retracted a story on the Fukushima nuclear crisis and sacked Executive Editor Nobuyuki Sugiura after acknowledging the article contained a serious error — the latest to rock the major left-leaning daily.