Monday, May 14, 2012

TEPCO's Chairman Katsumata: PM Kan's Meddling Excessive During the First Critical Hours of the Accident

Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata of TEPCO appeared before the Diet investigation commission on the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant Accident on May 14. For the most part, just like when they called TEPCO's then-VP Muto, the commissioners didn't seem to be successful at drawing any useful information from him.

But one thing he said about then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan caught my attention because I didn't know about it.

From Jiji Tsushin (part; 5/14/2012):


The Diet's Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (Chairman Kiyoshi Kurokawa, former head of the Science Council of Japan under the Cabinet Office) held a public hearing on May 14 with TEPCO's Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata as a witness. Chairman Katsumata referred to then Prime Minister Naoto Kan giving direct orders to Masao Yoshida, the plant manager of Fukushima I Nuke Plant, over the cellphone immediately after the start of the accident. Katsumata criticized that "the plant manager's primary duty was to do his best to restore the plant. It was not a good thing that he [Yoshida] had to take time dealing with the prime minister".

Well we could also say that it should have been the job of the TEPCO headquarters in Tokyo to shield Yoshida from having to answer phone calls from the prime minister who claimed to know a lot about nuclear power because he had a technical degree (he went on to become a patent attorney after graduation), so that the plant manager could do his job at the plant.

Mr. Katsumata, whatever you think of him as the head of "evil" TEPCO, is extremely sharp, which was very evident last year when I watched his press conference. It would take equally intelligent and clever people to get information out of him, but the Diet commissioners have been more keen on grand-standing (as the sessions are open to public and netcast live).

The Diet's commission will call then-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Banri Kaieda on May 16. We'll see if the commissioners do better job on Kaieda.


Pia said...

too may "blind leading the blind" in this situation. too much industry $ UN IAEA NRC et al BS, too much political BS too little care for humanity. I'm moving farther south. Soon. Because, whatever this is, it has to be bad - odd shadows on walls never seen B4 and more steam rising just a few hours ago

Greyhawk said...

TEPCO wanted the plant operators to abandon the plant. Now this man wants to defend TEPCO?

Anonymous said...

I am truly surprised to hear that Katsumata-san is still alive. Would he not have made an honorable exit by now? But then again, the man has no honor.

Anonymous said...

It annoys me to hear Prime Minister Kan's involvement described as "meddling". Some experts now say that TEPCO's negligence at Fukushima will lead to as many as one million premature cancer deaths. Certainly preventing this should have been Kan's first and only priority. He should have meddled, and much more. I would expect no less of the Prime Minister when a major company was about to kill millions of people.

Post a Comment