Saturday, March 3, 2012

Japan PM: No individual to blame for Fukushima

AFP's Huw Griffith quotes Japan's extremely unpopular Prime Minister Noda saying:

"Rather than blaming any individual person I believe everyone has to share the pain of responsibility and learn this lesson."

Hahahahahahaha. Share the pain. Hahahahahaha. Learn this lesson. Hahahahahaha.

From AFP (3/3/2012; emphasis is mine):

by Huw Griffith

TOKYO — No individual can be held responsible for the nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima, Japan's prime minister said Saturday, insisting everyone had to "share the pain".

Yoshihiko Noda told foreign journalists in Tokyo that the Japanese establishment had been taken in by the "myth of safety" around nuclear power and was unprepared for a disaster on the scale of last March's accident.

A week ahead of the anniversary of the disaster, the premier swatted away a question over criminal responsibility for meltdowns that forced tens of thousands of people from their homes and polluted the land and sea.

"Of course, the primary responsibility under Japanese law rests with the operator" of the stricken plant, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), Noda said.

"But the government as well as operators and academia were steeped too deeply in the safety myth and I think that is what we can conclude.

"Rather than blaming any individual person I believe everyone has to share the pain of responsibility and learn this lesson."

Noda's comments come just days after an independent investigation panel revealed the president of TEPCO had wanted to abandon the plant in the days after the tsunami swamped its reactor cooling systems.

A report compiled by private thinktank Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation said it was only threats by then prime minister Naoto Kan that had prevented TEPCO from leaving the plant to its fate as the accident spiralled out of control.

Noda told reporters lessons had been and were still being learned from Fukushima, including "don't install power sources outside which are likely to be hit by a tsunami".

All but two of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors are presently offline, with local communities unwilling to allow them to restart amid a public backlash over the safety of a once-trusted technology.

Noda said electricity-hungry Japan would diversify its power sources, but stopped short of pledging to abandon atomic energy.

"We have to grow out of our dependence on nuclear and we have to establish in the medium to longer term a society that does not have to rely on nuclear power generation," he said.

"We need to think about the best mix of energy that will give a sense of reassurance to the Japanese people. Some time in the middle of this year we would like to set the direction for this strategy."

The prime minister, who came to power almost exactly six months ago, said a year on from the tsunami that claimed 19,000 lives and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless, progress in righting Japan was being made.

But he acknowledged things were not moving as fast as they could.

"Unfortunately there is criticism that what we have done has been inadequate and we have been slow," he said. "We have to be receptive to such criticism."

He said recovery work was well under way, but that reconstruction would continue "intensively" for five years and should be complete in a decade.

"When it comes to reconstruction in areas seriously hit by the tsunami there is debate over whether they have to move to higher ground," he said.

"I think that local residents have to discuss and decide...and time is needed for that."

The establishment taken in by the "myth of safety"? So the prime minister is admitting the power that be in Japan believed in its own lies. That's hard to believe, but "the third generation rule" may well apply here. Those who propegated the "myth" in the early years of nuclear power in Japan, from early 1950s to early 1970s, knew it was a "myth" not reality. Those who came after them dutifully followed the 1st generation knowing full well that it was a "myth" not reality. Then comes the third generation, who grew up under the 1st and 2nd generation who actually started to believe the "myth", as that was the only "reality" for them - that nuclear power plants are safe.

As for his other lame remarks, I don't even want to comment, except for the lesson Noda apparently learned from the Fukushima disaster: Never install the power sources outside. If that's the lesson he learned, where has he been since March 11, 2011?

By the way, the head of Twitter Japan is one of the three directors of Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation that issued a timely "independent" report on the Fukushima disaster in time for the 1 year anniversary. He has close ties with the Japanese government, a former consultant at McKinsey and a Harvard MBA, GE's director, and one of the "young global leaders" at Davos. A total "insider" elite picked by Twitter to head its Japanese operation.

(H/T Yasushi Onuma for AFP article)


Anonymous said...

I don't see James Kondo as the director of the Rebuild Japan Foundation on the website you posted.

But anyway, if you don't like the report and want to throw dirt over the foundation you only have to mention that one of the panel members was working for at the IAEA for a while.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

He is one of the three directors. His bio in Japanese wiki:

近藤正晃ジェームス(こんどう まさあきら ジェームス、1967年12月9日-)は日本の実業家、学者、政策立案者、社会事業家。 企業経営、政府の政策立案、社会事業の経営等の分野で、実務家および研究者として活動。 現在は、Twitter社の初代日本代表。また、一橋大学大学院国際企業戦略研究科客員教授、内閣府本府参与、TABLE FOR TWO International共同創設者、一般財団法人 日本再建イニシアティブ専務理事、一般財団法人 教育支援グローバル基金(ビヨンド・トゥモロー)代表理事等として活動。 世界経済フォーラム(ダボス会議)によりヤング・グローバル・リーダーに選出。

I don't like or dislike the report that I haven't even read myself, and I don't care enough about this foundation one way or the other to throw dirt or anything.

Anonymous said...

Nah, "managing director," just one of the guys in the secretariat receiving orders from the committee. He's not even mentioned as one of the core members:

3/10 conspiracy theory at best, specially considering the background of the chairman and the committee members.

Anonymous said...

@anon at 10:44PM, are you stupid or what? Kondo is a director of the foundation, not the fukushima investigation committee.

What conspiracy theory? He is a director there, and he is the head of Twitter Japan.

Atomfritz said...

I believe having read a few days ago Enenews reporting that Edano had said that by summer no nuclear plant will be active in Japan anymore.

However, browsing through the headlines at Enenews I seem unable to find that article again. Anyways, I haven't much trust in Enenews news, so I'd be ready to assume this was just a hoax and the Japanese govt. actually hasn't learnt the Fukushima lesson.

If that news were true, it would be great news, as such a nuclear exit would reduce the danger of a second nuclear accident coming over Japan.

@LaPrimavera, when refreshing the main page of your blog to look for new articles, I felt a sad feeling when I noticed Ultraman missing...
Got so used to him!
The child in me somehow hopes that Ultraman comes back... :)

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@Atomfritz, it simply means the last two reactors currently running will go into maintenance. All the others, except for the broken ones at Fuku-I and Fuku-II, are either in maintenance (almost all of them) or shut down at the government's request (Hamaoka). some of them were supposed to come back on line last year but NISA decided to do the so-called "stress test", and they remain in maintenance.

The government and the nuke industry are extremely eager to bring them back online.

Anonymous said...

everyone is to blame means no-one is to blame
he's sending a clear message that there will be no legal repercussions
that's not so good

Anonymous said...

@retard at 10:49PM, check the English version of the link I posted:

I know it may be complicated, for you, because there are many blue rectangles and arrows, but you can see the Committee, the Secretariat, the Working Group, etc. That James Kondo has some kind of position within the secretariat receiving order from the committee.

Anonymous said...

Just ask where the Committee members FAMILIES are..and when they left for safe areas after the March 2011 disaster. Probably the only TRUE facts about how much was known and the dangers--what people do with their own children..and families.

By not allowing others the same information, countless people have been exposed to the first days of radiation --the worse days. Maybe they could have taken precautions! Everyone, even the general public, deserves the chance to keep their children safe as they can. They were denied this chance.

Anonymous said...

No individual is to blame for Fukushima.

There are children living in contaminated areas going to school with dosimeters around their necks.

There is no excuse for this.

Anonymous said...

"In contrast, similar investigations in the U.S. are often conducted by bodies with subpoena power, and accompany or are quickly followed by inquiries into criminal or civil liabilities of the companies and people involved." PHRED DVORAK And MITSURU OBE, "Panel Finds Japan Was Unprepared for Nuclear Disaster" Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2011

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