The NISA's head in the early days of the accident says he didn't advise the PM because he was a liberal arts major.
The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC) set up by the Japan's Diet is eliciting some interesting reactions (or excuses I should say) from the officials in charge of Japan's nuclear policies who also oversaw the initial government response to the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident.
The Commission held its fourth hearing on February 15, 2012 which was net-cast live (archived here, if you understand Japanese). The following is from what's been reported in the media about the hearing, as tweeted by the Commission (@jikocho):
From Sankei Shinbun (2/15/2012):
About the advice to the Prime Minister and other activities during the early days of the accident, Mr. Madarame said, "I didn't sleep for more than a week, and I hardly remember anything. There were only two landlines where I was, and there was no cellphone signal. What advice I could give was limited."
Mr. Terasaka [who was the head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency then] said, "I am a liberal arts major. So I delegated the dealings with the Prime Minister's Residence to my subordinate who was a science major."
As to the safety guidelines for nuclear power plant to prepare for the tsunami and station blackout, Mr. Madarame apologized by saying "I have to admit there were flaws. I would like to apologize." As to why the guidelines weren't improved, Madarame said, "Low safety standards are proposed by the plant operators, and the regulatory agencies simply rubber-stamp them. With the approval from the national government, they are considered safe, and there is no incentive for the operators to improve safety. It is a vicious cycle." He also said, "The system in this country is set up so that people spend much time in making up excuses for not doing anything, and decision-making is not done against opposition."
He speaks the truth on that point.