Sunday, May 27, 2012

Yukio Edano Blamed Everyone Else for Fukushima Accident Response, Portrayed Himself as Not Knowing Much

in his testimony in front of the Diet Independent Investigation Commission on the Fukushima nuclear accident on Sunday, which was netcast live by the Commission and also by Nico Nico (which was far better without the annoying commercials).

According to the mainstream newspapers, Mr. Edano "apologized" during the testimony on May 27.

From Yomiuri Shinbun (5/27/2012):


"Not enough" information disclosure, Mr. Edano apologized in the Diet Commission on the accident


The National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, headed by Chairman Kiyoshi Kuroda, called Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Edano as a witness for the public hearing on May 27. Mr. Edano was the Chief Cabinet Secretary when the nuclear accident happened.


As the then-spokesman in charge of disseminating information from the government, Mr. Edano said, "As the government, we could not collect enough information, and could not form expectations and assumptions based on the information. That is what should be reflected upon", admitting that collection and dissemination of the information by the government was inadequate, and he apologized.


As to the confusion in the government response [to the accident], Mr. Edano said, "(Information dissemination) is done on an individual basis, on experience and intuition", pointing out that the lack of coherent, systematic public relation structure itself was the problem. He also said, "There were more than a few occasions when what I intended and what was disseminated differed."


In the Fukushima I Nuclear Plant accident, the government instructed the residents within the 3-kilometer radius from the plant to evacuate on the night of March 11, 2011. On the morning of March 12, the evacuation zone was expanded to 10-kilometer radius, and in the evening it was further expanded to 20-kilometer radius, causing distrust among the residents.

Apology was not what I came away getting from Mr. Edano. He didn't know, he didn't remember, and it was always someone else's problem. Here's my personal note as I watched the testimony (not the verbatim words of his):

About setting the initial evacuation zone at 3-kilometer radius, and then to 20-kilometer radius after the Reactor 1 explosion on March 12, 2011:

Edano said he didn't know why it was set at 3-kilometer radius. He said he didn't remember why it was set at 20 kilometers, didn't remember who suggested it. He also said he didn't know the evacuation zone designation couldn't be lifted unless the situation improved.

About Reactor 1 vent:

It turned out that the Fukushima plant had been trying to vent but having difficulties. TEPCO headquarters was no use. So we issued a legal order to vent. (What would that do?)

About then-Prime Minister Kan's visit to the plant on March 12, 2011:

He said it was Kan himself who wanted to go, even if he might be in the way of the work at the plant. He advised Kan that there would be political ramifications, but Kan thought getting the first-hand information was more important.

About TEPCO's withdrawal from Fuku-I:

Edano didn't seem to recall what exactly was said. He kept talking something but that was not really about the subject.

About the duration of evacuation:

No one, including him, knew that the evacuation would be lengthy. ("Beyond expectation" is another of his famous remarks.)


Edano said he didn't know about the system (hard to believe, as the system is always used in the nuclear emergency drills conducted every year) until March 15 or 16. He said the Ministry of Education officials told him that they couldn't do the simulation because there was no data on the actual amount of radioactive materials being dispersed from the source (Fuku-I). (So? The Ministry was doing the calculation using an emission unit method.) He said he instructed the Ministry to do their best to calculate from what observed data available. "The Ministry of Education is the one who has to sweat", he said, meaning it was the Ministry of Education who should be working hard (till they sweat) and coming up with the simulation and recommendation, not him or the government.

About "No immediate effect on health" refrain of his:

Asked by one of the commissioners who is an evacuee from Fukushima because of the nuclear accident why Edano kept saying "There is no immediate effect on health", Edano snapped at her and said "You should review the transcripts of my press conferences." Edano said it was regrettable that his words were taken to mean what he didn't intended. Later he said the information should have been more detailed, but essentially blamed the recipients of his message for misunderstanding.

About his "core melt" reference in the press conference on March 13, 2011:

Edano said he wasn't aware of the NISA mentioning the possibility of the core melt the previous day (March 12, 2011). (Huh?)

Mr. Edano portrayed himself as if he was an outsider just doing his job of public relations as the Chief Cabinet Secretary, without knowing in details what was going on. Most Japanese (and probably the British) know what the Chief Cabinet Secretary is. He is decidedly not a mere mouthpiece of the administration. It is a ministerial position wielding power and influence.

But Mr. Edano got away with it in the testimony. No hard questions.


Anonymous said...

OK. They made a lot of mistakes. To err is human so the saying goes. We can try to forgive, if they were repentant.

Problem is, they CONTINUE to make a lot of mistakes and they insult the intelligence of the public with their continued mishandling of the situation. Just some examples:

1. wide spread radioactive debris disposal and burning

2. trying to restart nuclear reactors in other plants when we all know nuclear power is unacceptable in the future energy policy

3. dragging their feet on compensation; failing to install mechanisms to quickly and completely compensate victims

4. health monitoring failures

5. food monitoring failures

6. failure to evacuate children whose families want to move them; not providing government support to move people who live in contaminated places that the government has declared "not so bad"

7. failure to start putting ALL spent fuel nationwide into dry cask storage

8. failure to treat the fukushima spent fuel pools and other cleanup efforts with the urgency that they deserve

9. failure to acknowledge and do all that is possible to stabilize the disaster site against the high-consequence event involving the atmospheric release of all the radiation in those pools

10. failure for the incompetents like Edano to step aside and let more knowledgable people clean up his and his party's mess

No, he's not sorry. His party is not sorry. TEPCO is not sorry. They are all just doing a big gamman taikai until (they hope) the public anger goes away and they can get back to business as ususal.

Never again boys. It's over. Nuclear is history. DPJ is history. Big utilities in Japan are history. You want to be part of the future? Learn it. You want to be part of history, keep doing what you're doing.

Saidani said...

I believe I heard Edano explain that he was simply a politician who didn't really know what he was saying to the public except what (nuclear industry and bureaucratic) experts told him.

Of course, he was using it as an excuse during the hearing even though he knew at the time that his words carried a lot of weight with the media and the public. And this is exactly what one can expect from men with years of experience and training as a "public servant."

Pity Japan for having such people in positions of authority.

Anonymous said...

People in power never admit they're wrong. They often paint themselves as victims, instead.

If Edano wanted information, all he had to do was look it up on the internet like the rest of us, instead of spouting nonsense for over a year.

Anonymous said...

Edano is a lawyer, he is not going to admit actions/words which could be used against him if a trial is staged later on. Hopefully he is never going to become a prime minister.

Anonymous said...

I may be very naive, but is there any hope of anti-nuke LDP and SDP members defecting to form a new party, hopefully recognizing someone like Mizuho Fukushima, who actually cares about the people of Japan, as a leader?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

What Japanese people need is not a leader but themselves, better aware of what's happening and thinking for themselves for the first time.

Saidani said...

"What Japanese people need is not a leader but themselves, better aware of what's happening and thinking for themselves for the first time."

How to accomplish that? How do you convince your friends and relatives? This is a very sincere question.

Anonymous said...

As long as people are looking for leaders to guide them, they will continue to fall into the same crap over and over.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree. Where's their initiative?

I hear that TEPCO is still refusing outside help. I can imagine how they'd all react if/when the reactors fall apart. They'd probably still just stand there, insisting it's safe while the country evacuates around them. They are the very eye of the storm. When the dust settles, the twisted grins left on their abandoned corpses will betray the utter ineffectiveness of their "smile protection" in the face of lethal radiation...

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

anon above, I don't think it's up to TEPCO at all. For that matter, it never was. It was the Japanese government who refused outside help, and even the independent researchers in Japan said it would be better to do it by themselves without foreign help.

Anonymous said...

Naive here, again.

If the Japanese government and even the independent researchers refuse outside help, why would they listen to the Japanese people even if they DID think for themselves? Wouldn't officials just ignore their own people like they ignore foreign opinions now? The whole situation seems so pathological to me.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

>why would they listen to the Japanese people?

They didn't, they don't, and they won't. That is very apparent in handling the disaster debris. The residents who are against accepting have educated themselves very well, and asking questions and arguing their case in the meetings. They are absolutely ignored. So what will happen next?

Anonymous said...

Tepco and the J GOV have a LONG HISTORY of lying about nuclear power. Lying, falsification, bribery, corruption, mishaps. This whole "trial" is just a show and PR stunt. The people who committed the crimes are now investigating themselves. That usually does not lead to justice.

Mismanaging Risk and the Fukushima Nuclear Crisis
Fukushima was preceded by a series of mishaps, cover-ups, irresponsible practices, close calls and ignored warnings. In that sense, it was an accident waiting to happen.

Anonymous said...

What we are talking about here is the Nuclear Village, that includes nuke industry, utili companies, LDP, media, academia (who did I forget)? Tepco is surely to blame but ExSKF is correct that the JGOV is also ultimately to blame, this is obvious. But we don't live in a representative democracy, we live in a fraudulent dumbocracy.

Anonymous said...

Mismanaging Risk and the Fukushima Nuclear Crisis
Fukushima was preceded by a series of mishaps, cover-ups, irresponsible practices, close calls and ignored warnings. In that sense, it was an accident waiting to happen.

Anonymous said...

Edano = Total Fucking Bastard

Anonymous said...

Funnily enough, I originally wrote government, but then realised the article wrote TEPCO so I wrote TEPCO. Government makes more sense, really.

Beppe said...

Why is Edano in the goverment? Why is Noda in the government? To me these people seem to care more about the well being of industry, utilities and banks than the citizen's, as the first comment explained so well.
As far as I recall during the crisis Edano was doing little more than repeating Tepco press releases and telling us that there was no danger for health. Then he changed the formula to "no immediate danger for health"; at that point I flew family out of the country.
I hope people like Edano, Kaieda, Noda, Fujimura etc are wiped clean from the parliament next elections; however since Tokyo governor has recently been reelected I am not too hopeful. Japanese voters! Please!

Anonymous said...

Japanese voters are as thick as shit, you bet the same cabal of liars and cheaters will get back into government next elections.... look at Ishihara, how can such a racist get to run a capital city for so long?

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