11 Juillet 2012
July 11, 2012
Katsutaka Idogawa, mayor of Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, condemned the central government on July 10 for failing to disclose radiation data provided by the United States immediately after the outbreak of the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
"(Futaba residents) were exposed to radiation that they didn't have to be exposed to," an emotional Idogawa testified during a meeting of the House of Councillors' Budget Committee. "What can we do to make people who haven't been exposed to radiation understand this feeling?"
"If the information had been disclosed efficiently, I would have changed (residents') evacuation routes. Above all, I am in a position of protecting residents," said Idogawa, who spoke as an unsworn witness at the upper house meeting.
At times Idogawa was teary and choked with emotion.
"Being told things like that it's all right because radiation doses are at such and such a level of millisieverts makes me really furious," he said.
Following the mayor's concluding remarks, in which he said that he "cannot accept this cover-up," a hush enveloped the usually lively committee room.
Also present at the meeting was the speaker of the town council of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture. Futaba and Namie are among the areas most severely affected by the nuclear disaster. The two officials were invited to the meeting as unsworn witnesses by the opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
During the meeting, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda apologized over the government's failure to disclose the radiation data, saying, "As a result of insufficient cooperation and information sharing between related organizations, preparedness to disclose information relevant for the protection of residents' lives was weakened. I apologize, too."