It all started with the editorial that appeared on Japanese Mainichi Shinbun on April 2, 2012.
In the column titled "Spent Fuel Pool Up in the Air" (「風知草： 宙に浮く燃料プール), the columnist Takao Yamada wrote:
Here's my translation, as carefully as I can:
The report by the "Independent Investigation Commission on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident" (so-called "Minkan Jikocho" [private investigation commission]) says that the Spent Fuel Pool of Reactor 4 has turned out to be the "weakest link" in the "parallel chain-reaction crises" of the nuclear plant accident. The worst-case scenario compiled by the government [the administration] (which is included in the report by the private commission) assumed the collapse of the Reactor 4 Spent Fuel Pool. According to this scenario, the spent fuel [Spent Fuel Pools?] in other reactors would then collapse, and the residents in Tokyo Metropolitan areas would face evacuation [or be forced to evacuate].
Here's how Mainichi Daily translated this paragraph (from this site, as Mainichi Daily doesn't have the link to the article any more):
A report released in February by the Independent Investigation Commission on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident stated that the storage pool of the plant’s No. 4 reactor has clearly been shown to be “the weakest link” in the parallel, chain-reaction crises of the nuclear disaster. The worse-case scenario drawn up by the government includes not only the collapse of the No. 4 reactor pool, but the disintegration of spent fuel rods from all the plant’s other reactors. If this were to happen, residents in the Tokyo metropolitan area would be forced to evacuate.
The problem is the last sentence. Up to the sentence, it seems a faithful translation of the original Japanese. But the last sentence can be construed as if it were the opinion of the columnist, while in the original Japanese it is clear that the columnist is citing the scenario that the Kan administration received from the head of the Atomic Energy Agency of Japan.
The overseas sites which relies on the English-language news coming out of Japan did seem to take the Mainichi Daily's sentence as the opinion of the columnist, and ran with it.
At the site that I took the Mainichi Daily's quote, the article title is "It's Not Over: Government Plans for the Worst: Forced Evacuation of Tokyo". The article says:
Even more alarming is that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and other agencies have warned that the nuclear storage pools (the containment units that are being used to cool the nuclear fuel) have been damaged and may collapse under their own weight.
Such an event would cause widespread nuclear fallout throughout the region and force the government to evacuate the nearly 10 million residents of Tokyo and surrounding areas, a scenario which government emergency planners are now taking into serious consideration.
From what I can tell, this claim is based only on the Mainichi Daily's article, on that particular sentence. On the assumption that if the government had the worst-case scenario it must be planning for the worst-case. Well. No, it wasn't planning for anything. But that was known only in Japan and to the readers of this blog.
Then, there is a site that links to the above site, and the title of the article is "Fukushima Forcing Tokyo To Evacuate!" The content of the article is even more escalated:
If the storage pool were to fracture, the nuclear fuel would immediately heat up and explode. Radioactive fallout would be dispersed over a wide and uncontainable area. At this time now, the Japanese government are creating blueprints for forcibly removing 39 million people from the Tokyo metro-area.
This site also has the information that I have no idea where he got from, right before the above paragraph:
They have been incarcerating residents in psychiatric hospitals when they voice concerns about their radiation contact.
The sad thing about all this is that the Japanese government does not have any plan. If it does, it's been extremely good hiding it for more than one year. On receiving the worst-case scenario from the head of the Atomic Energy Commission in late March, 2011, the Kan administration decided to keep it hidden, and banish from their memory so that they didn't need to plan for any such scenario. It remained hidden, off the official government document list, until January this year. If you read Japanese, here's the scenario.
Gresham's Law. Or Telephone Game. Either way, It's harder and harder to get the real information, not easier, after more than 1 year since the accident started.
(H/T Helios for the English articles)