(UPDATE) And just to show it knows something about contaminated water, the Agency of Natural Resources and Energy under METI just declared that 300 tonnes of contaminated water is flowing out to the ocean every day from Fukushima I Nuke Plant, according to Kyodo News.
There may no line of command and they may be "blind", but that doesn't stop Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and its Minister Toshimitsu Motegi from using the "crisis" over the contaminated groundwater at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant for money grab.
As Japanese and foreign media's coverage of "highly contaminated" groundwater that may have gone over the top of the underground impermeable wall into the "ocean" (open culvert outside the water intakes inside the plant harbor) without much raising the radioactivity in the seawater there reaches a crescendo, Motegi and his Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry which (surprisingly) still retains the main role in Fukushima I Nuke Plant decommissioning ride to the rescue.
According to the Japanese papers (Asahi, Nikkei, Jiji and others) are reporting on August 7 that:
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will ask for at least 40 billion yen from the fiscal 2014 national budget for the construction of the frozen impermeable wall to surround the reactor buildings and turbine buildings at Fukushima I Nuke Plant to stop the groundwater from entering the buildings;
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will formally instruct Minister of Economy Toshimitsu Motegi to hurry up with countermeasures to deal with the contaminated water at Fukushima I Nuke Plant during the meeting of Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters [yes, it still exists] in the afternoon of August 7;
"There is no precedent in the world to build such an extensive frozen wall like this", says Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, "So the national government should step forward to carry out the project".
Fiscal 2014 starts in April 2014. Some urgency. And the national government wants to take credit because it will be the first ever in the world (their favorite - "No.1! Number One!"). Or at least so in their mind.
That indicates to me that METI and Motegi are using the problem of contaminated groundwater that may be slowly saturating the space between the turbine buildings and the seawall and potentially destabilizing the underground trenches as a tool to grab money for themselves, to show the Ministry is still powerful and influential in distributing goodies to their buddies (in this case minimum 40 billion yen to Kajima to build the frozen wall).
Nikkei Shinbun makes a curious put-down on Nuclear Regulatory Authority:
Nuclear Regulatory Authority, which was created separate from Ministry of Economy, Trade in Industry in September last year, distanced itself initially from the decommission work, and the regulatory oversight by ministries weakened.
As if NRA had any choice, and as if it was because of NRA that the oversight weakened.
The tenor and timbre of the Japanese papers are:
Finally! National government is doing something! and it will be Ministry of Economy in charge. Isn't it wonderful?
Nuclear Regulatory Authority's Kinjo said in the Reuters' article that TEPCO's "sense of crisis is weak". The same can be said about METI and Abe's government. For that matter, it can be said about the entire populace.
Normalcy bias has been pervasive and strong in Japan from the day one of the nuclear accident.