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More lies

December 29, 2012


Atomic Energy Commission lied about secret meetings to prime minister's office



The Cabinet Office's Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) submitted falsified reports on the clandestine "study sessions" it hosted for pro-nuclear parties, newly obtained emails have shown.

The new revelations bring into question the responsibility of the Cabinet Office's investigative team, which released a final report on the case in August without any references to the bogus communications.

According to emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, at 7:56 a.m. on May 24, then Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura's secretary instructed a Cabinet Office staffer involved in nuclear power policy to compile anticipated questions and answers by 10 a.m. sharp regarding the Mainichi Shimbun's report on the JAEC's clandestine meetings.

In a reply sent to Fujimura's secretary at 9:59 a.m., the staff member denied the Mainichi Shimbun report, which claimed that a document on the nuclear fuel cycle had been altered in alignment with pro-nuclear utilities. At 10:33 a.m., the same staffer sent the materials Fujimura's secretary had requested earlier that morning, along with reassurances that "no explanations or debates (like those that were reported) took place."

Fujimura told a press conference beginning at 11:08 a.m. that the committee document on the nuclear fuel cycle had not been altered, and while it had been distributed to participants in the secret meetings, there had been no explanation or discussion of it. According to sources close to the case, however, at a closed-door meeting held April 24, participants were given the document, were told it was a draft report to the government's Energy and Environment Council, and discussed it.

Earlier reports by the Mainichi Shimbun have revealed that during the meeting, an executive from Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. -- operator of the Rokkasho Nuclear Reprocessing Plant in Aomori Prefecture -- appealed for support behind a policy that would entail reprocessing of some spent nuclear fuel, with the direct disposal of the remaining spent fuel underground. During a Cabinet Office investigation, one participant from the meetings said, "Comments like the ones that were reported in the media were made."

Some of the emails corroborate allegations that the draft report had been altered. An email sent by a Cabinet Office staffer involved in nuclear power policy on May 4 says, "More comments arrived from the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC), and are already reflected (in the draft report)."

Requests by the Mainichi Shimbun to the Cabinet Office's nuclear policy division to release the contents of FEPC's comments and the changes made to the draft report have gone unanswered as of Dec. 28.

The government changed hands from the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) before a conclusion was reached in a review of JAEC promoted by DPJ administrations. The three-year terms of chairman Shunsuke Kondo and the four other JAEC members all end by Jan. 5, 2013, but with no successors on the immediate horizon, their terms are to be extended automatically.

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