June 27, 2019

Japan sacks three top nuclear power officials

Banri Kaieda - not a happy chap. He has made sure three other top officials know all about unhappiness too.

Three men in charge of nuclear power safety and policy have been sacked with the ongoing crisis at the tsunami-hit and earthquake hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant showing no signs of abating.

Japan’s Trade and Industry Minister, Banri Kaieda, said the three senior officials would be held responsible for mishandling the plant and its problems.

Radioactive material is still leaking from the plant nearly five months after the double catastrophe.

The crisis has also brought to light the close links between the government and the power industry.

Those sacked are the head of the nuclear safety agency, Nobuaki Terasaka, the head of the agency for natural resources and energy, Tetsuhiro Hosono, and the vice-minister for economy, trade and industry, Kazuo Matsunaga.

Mr Kaieda, who played a key role in handling the Fukushima crisis, has also said he plans to resign to take responsibility.

But he has not said when he will do so, despite a tearful confrontation with opposition lawmakers.

“I’m planning to breathe fresh air into the ministry with a large-scale reshuffle,” Mr Kaieda told a news conference.

“This is what I’ve been thinking for about a month. I’ll have new people rebuild the ministry.”

There are also plans to establish a new and independent atomic safety regulatory body.

Japan seems to have an over supply of politicians ‘taking responsibility’ at the moment. Maybe they could start exporting
some ‘responsibility’ to a few western nations where such actions as ‘taking responsibility’ are almost extinct in political circles.

Meanwhile, Japan is facing shortages of electricity because two-thirds of nuclear its nuclear reactors are offline.

Local communities have been refusing to give permission for them to be switched back on after routine maintenance.

Public confidence has been further shaken by revelations that a power company had instructed its employees to pose as ordinary members of the public to send emails backing restarts to a television debate on nuclear safety.