Shinzo Abe has been denounced as a liar by his predecessor and political mentor for insisting three years ago that the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant was under control, and that Tokyo was a safe place for the Olympic Games. Junichiro Koizumi, Japan’s most popular post-war leader during his time as prime minister, said that Mr Abe had lied in his speech to the International Olympic Committee in 2013 in which he successfully argued Tokyo’s case for the 2020 Games. “Mr Abe saying ‘it’s under control’ – that was a lie,” said Mr Koizumi, who personally anointed Mr Abe as his successor. “I don’t know how he could tell such a lie.” Anxiety about the Fukushima meltdown, caused by the tsunami which hit Japan in March 2011, was one of the biggest question marks over Tokyo’s bid for the Games, but Mr Abe was able to win over the doubters. However, three years on, the Japanese authorities have not yet begun dismantling the stricken reactors at the nuclear plant; a task never before attempted and one which some experts estimate will take a century or longer. Mr Koizumi launched an appeal yesterday for 100 million yen (£735 million) to help hundreds of American servicemen who claim that they became ill after exposure to radiation from the meltdown. Most were sailors and Marines aboard USS Ronald Reagan, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that was among 25 US navy ships involved in relief efforts after the tsunami — two thirds of which may have been exposed to low-level radiation. About 400 of those aboard USS Ronald Reagan have brought a class-action suit against Tokyo Electric Power, which operated the plant, and General Electric, which built the reactors, claiming damages for illnesses including thyroid cancer and leukaemia. Seven have died, according to lawyers. A 2014 report by the US Department of Defense concluded that the radiation to which the sailors had been exposed was too low, and that the cancers appeared too early to have been caused by the 2011 disaster.
Times 8th Sept 2016 read more »
Guardian 7th Sept 2016 read more »
The nation’s nuclear watchdog decided Wednesday to require background checks for workers at nuclear power plants and other facilities as part of its anti-terrorism measures. Following recommendations from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Nuclear Regulation Authority will introduce the measure in late September. Still, actual implementation is expected to begin next year or later due to necessary regulation changes needed in regards to handling nuclear materials.
Japan Times 7th Sept 2016 read more »