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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

TEPCO's videos show situation "out of hand"

August 7, 2012


TEPCO meeting video shows decision to not announce cancellation of rolling blackouts



The vice president of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said at a teleconference in the early morning hours of March 14, 2011, the first day of rolling blackouts after the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster, that the company would not announce its decision to cancel rolling blackouts that day, it was learned from video released by TEPCO.

In the end, at 6:25 a.m., TEPCO announced the cancellation of rolling blackouts for the first planned area, but disruptions to train services still occurred.

According to the comments made by then vice president Takashi Fujimoto on the video, the decision to cancel the pre-noon rolling blackouts came after then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano reproached him over them, saying, "You will kill people using artificial respirators at home. If you proceed while knowing that, we will hold you accountable for murder."

A reason given by Fujimoto on the video for not announcing the cancellation was, "If we hold a press conference (announcing a cancelation), it will instead cause chaos." A person from the company's headquarters said at the time, "We'll just have to let the situation be that it turned out we were able to get by without (pre-noon) blackouts."

Footage shows rift between PM's Office and TEPCO over initial handling of nuclear crisis




Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) released video footage on Aug. 6 of teleconferences it held in the crucial first days of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, underscoring a deep rift between the Prime Minister's Office and the utility over the handling of the world's worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

The footage shows how the nuclear crisis got out of hand while the power company and the Prime Minister's Office were at loggerheads over how to bring the crisis under control. A video clip with sound started with bitter complaints about then Prime Minister Naoto Kan by Ichiro Takekuro, who was dispatched from TEPCO to Kan's office to serve as a liaison between the two entities.

In the footage, Takekuro said at around 11 p.m. on March 12, 2011, "He (Kan) got really mad very often. You name it. When I gave him a briefing, he told me, 'On what grounds? Can you say things will be alright that way even if something happens?' He was harshly screaming at me." The footage confirms that discord emerged between the Prime Minister's Office and TEPCO immediately after the outbreak of the nuclear crisis.

The footage also shows scenes of Masao Yoshida, chief at that time of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power station, being hard pressed to handle the emergency situation while radiation levels there kept rising.

In a teleconference soon after 12:30 p.m. on March 14, 2011, Yoshida told TEPCO headquarters, "Exposure doses are reaching their limits. I want you to pay attention to that!" Then TEPCO President Masataka Shimizu told Yoshida in a conciliatory tone, "Please keep trying in one way or another!"

The footage also recorded a scene in which Yoshida got so frustrated by the failure to cool down the nuclear reactors and stop their meltdown. At around 1 p.m. on March 14, 2011, Yoshida asked TEPCO headquarters to take steps to release hydrogen into the atmosphere from the No. 2 reactor, saying, "I want you to think of ways to open a hole (in the reactor building) immediately by using helicopters or whatever."

The footage also shows a scene that suggests that then TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata may not have predicted a hydrogen explosion at the No. 3 reactor at all. In a telephone conversation with Takekuro at around 7 p.m. on March 13, 2011, Katsumata said, "It looks like we may be able to open the vent at the No. 3 (reactor). I think that the problem of hydrogen is very small." In the end, a hydrogen explosion ripped through the No. 3 reactor at around 11 a.m. on March 14, 2011.

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