Fukushima I Nuclear Plant Manager Yoshida said angrily to a manager in TEPCO HQ:
"If it [Reactor 3] explodes, we'll all die. Do you understand? Take it seriously and come up with the procedure!"
He was talking about the SDF helicopter's water dropping operation at the request of the Kan administration, which eventually took place on March 17, 2011.
On November 30, 2012, TEPCO released the 336 hours of its teleconference video from March 16 to 23, and from March 30 to April 6, 2011. TEPCO only made about 2 hours worth of the video available to the general public (online). The rest of the video is only available for viewing at TEPCO's headquarters and only by the qualified press (Japan press club members).
One such qualified press, Sankei Shinbun viewed part of the video, and wrote a series of articles on what they found.
Excerpts from Sankei Shinbun (12/1/2012) on the Self Defense Force spraying water onto the Spent Fuel Pool of Reactor 3 paint the scene as that of confusion and anger. The first segment below is from March 16, 2011, which is part of the video only available to the qualified press, and the second segment is on March 17, 2011, in the video TEPCO made available to public (embedded below, in Japanese only).
One caveat: Sankei has been highly critical of the Democratic Party of Japan's administrations, and they often go out of the way to emphasize the ham-handed meddling by the DPJ politicians.
[On March 16, 2011, Plant Manager Yoshida sternly speaks to a manager in TEPCO HQ. When the HQ manager suggests Yoshida should plan for emergency, Yoshida gets angry, and stops using the polite form of Japanese and breaks into a rather rude form, which I cannot fully render into English but tried my best.]
Fukushima I Plant Manager Masao Yoshida: "How are they going to inject water? I would like you to instruct us a bit more clearly. Any instruction will do, like a procedure manual."
Manager at TEPCO HQ: "It is important to establish a procedure, but I think it is also necessary to prepare for emergency and quick retreat."
Yoshida: "Yes, but I want the HQ to create a procedure manual. Don't you have it? The manual? You thought simply pouring water would do it, is that it? We'll all be watching, around [the reactor]. And you know what, if it explodes, we'll all die, you understand? We'll do it, I understand it has to be done right now. So get serious, and come up with the procedure, please!"
(March 17, 2011 at 9:48AM, the first helicopter arrived, and the dumping of water on Reactor 3 was shown on TV.) [It's about 33 minutes into the video.]
A worker at Fukushima I Nuke Plant: "This is it? Where's the water?"
Another worker: "Agh. (Water) didn't reach Reactor 3. What is this?"
The first worker: "Oh well.. It is just a spray."
Spraying the water from air and capturing it on video and releasing the video worldwide was an idea by the Kan administration to appeal to the world that the administration was in control of the accident. After seeing the video, according to the former State Department official Kevin Maher, the US government officials called in the Japanese ambassador and said to him,
"Look, you have to take this stuff seriously. We don't know what's going to happen."
Maher said the US government was terrified, in his interview in January this year, recalling the time. He published a book about the accident and the government response ("決断できない日本 The Japan That Can't Decide") last year, but no one in Japan seems to have paid any attention, as it contradicts the official stories of Japan and the US which were all praise of this daring operations caught live on camera.
Speaking of helicopter, Maher also said last year that one of the items freely offered by the US government to the Japanese government right after the nuclear accident started was an unmanned helicopter. After going back and forth, with the Japanese government asking about the technical details and trivial points about the helicopter and its operation, the big question finally came from the Japanese government: "In the event that the helicopter is contaminated by radiation, what will happen with regards to compensation?"
US officials must have thought they were speaking with the space aliens.