3 Mars 2012
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The science minister and other top ministry officials decided to withhold radiation forecast data from the public four days after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, an internal document made available Friday showed.
Then Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Yoshiaki Takaki, lawmakers serving as top ministry officials and top bureaucrats made the decision on March 15 to withhold data about the predicted spread of radioactivity, which included an assumption that all radioactive material would be discharged from the crippled plant.
Prediction of the spread of radioactive substances, compiled from the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information, "could be by no means released to the public," the document dated March 19 showed.
On Friday, a ministry official said top ministry officials had made no decision on releasing the data, noting that contents in the document, a memorandum prepared by ministry officials, were inaccurate.
The document stated that radioactive clouds could spread from the crippled nuclear power plant to the Kanto and Tohoku regions, indicating that the ministry had made various estimates about the spread of released radioactive substances, including the worst-case scenario.
The minister and the other top officials concluded that estimated data from SPEEDI should not be released and more general data should be prepared for release.
Kan Suzuki, then vice science minister, told Kyodo News that there had been no assuming the discharge of all radioactive substances, adding release of such an estimate could have panicked the public.