Independent journalist Ryusaku Tanaka reports on the meeting between a citizens' group and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. The citizens' group made a formal appointment with the agency for the meeting, but on the day of the meeting they were shoved into a dark corridor to wait for someone to show up, and the "meeting" was done in the lobby, standing, between the group and a lone 30-year-old NISA bureaucrat.
From Tanaka's blog (1/31/2012):
A young bureaucrat at NISA inadvertently says, "Workers at the [Fukushima I Nuke] plant are working toward winding down the accident"
When a citizens' group went to petition the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry demanding "halting and decommissioning all nuclear power plants", a young bureaucrat had an amazing slip of the tongue. He said the nuclear accident was not over.
On January 31, a group of 12 people from "Let's stop all nuclear power plant! national conference" visited the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency in the annex building of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Yosuke Oda, secretary of the conference, had managed to make an appointment with the PR department of the NISA.
They arrived at 2PM, as per the appointment, and went to the reception at NISA for necessary procedure before the meeting. After calling the PR department, the receptionist told them, "There has been a change of person in charge". Oh boy, they had set up the meeting 5 days prior... I almost burst into laughter at the lack of common sense at NISA as I was observing the exchange.
"We're not going to be turned away like this." The group protested vehemently to the PR department through the receptionist. After 10 minutes of exchange, a security guard came.
"Could you wait over there?" The security guard put them in the space at the back of the reception area. There was no light, and it was dark (see photo). When we asked another security guard, it was part of energy saving effort.
We waited in the dark for about 20 minutes. A bureaucrat from the PR department showed up with the security guard. It was Shunsuke Shimozuru (or Shimotsuru), section manager at NISA PR department. He was a youthful-looking young man, hardly 30 years of age. A career bureaucrat, in all likelihood.
Young Shimozuru, correction, Manager Shimozuru took us to a lobby on the same floor. He was going to receive the petition standing.
"Why not in a conference room?"
"It is our policy to receive a petition in the lobby."
"When "Group of Fukushima women" went to petition on October 27 last year, they were shown to a conference room." "Are you limiting our right to petition?" People pressed him for an answer.
Manager Shimozuru was cornered. "Well, it is also a matter of security..."
"We are not doing anything dangerous. What's the security problem of letting us in a conference room?"
Not knowing what else to say, Manager Shimozuru blurted out the truth despite himself. "The declaration was made that the nuclear plant accident was over, but the workers at the plant are working toward ending the accident..."
"How can you say that the accident is over when you see a white smoke coming out of the broken plant?" That's what people in Fukushima often say.
A young bureaucrat of NISA inadvertently admitted that the nuclear plant accident, for all intent and purposes, was not over. "Just as I expected", as I thought to myself. I wish I could tell Prime Minster Noda, "NISA itself is saying the accident is not over. Do you know that?"
Mr. Shimozuru is a man in the center, with his back on the camera.
It must be a rude learning experience for ordinary citizens of Japan. All their lives, they thought the bureaucrats and politicians who graduated from top schools in the nation were working for them. When they made an appointment to see them, they were shoved into a dark corner, and met with a young man no more than 30 years of age, in the lobby, standing.
Just for your information in case you are not familiar, not all bureaucrats are "career" bureaucrats in Japan. Career bureaucrats are those elites in the national government who have passed the rigorous examination and in exchange are guaranteed fast-track promotions within the ministries. They dominate the top hierarchy of the ministries. They are usually the graduates from elite universities in Japan. As part of on-the-job training of some sort, many are dispatched to municipalities throughout Japan during their career to become vice mayors of the cities before they come back to the ministries. Some go to international agencies and come back.
Some of them decide to run for office after vice mayoral experience, and become politicians but with ties to the ministries. The pro-nuke governor of Hokkaido is one example; she was a career bureaucrat at the Ministry of Economy before she became the governor. There are many others. Then, on retirement, they "descend from heaven" to the NGOs, NPOs, research institutes, big corporations, with fat checks with little work.