Japanese Officials Knew of Imminent Meltdown Shortly After Tsunami

Yukio Edano: 'I humbly accept criticism that I could not tell you of the possibility of meltdown'

As Japan and the world prepare for tomorrow's one-year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, government documents have been released revealing that top Japanese officials were directly warned of an imminent meltdown at the Nuclear plant but failed to take action and denied any such risks to the public. The report confirms suspicions of deceit in the government's handling of the disaster.

Common Dreams

Agence France-Presse reports:

A summary of a government meeting held about four hours after a giant earthquake sent huge waves crashing into the atomic power station showed that one unidentified participant had cautioned of the risk of a meltdown.

"If the temperature of the reactor cores rises after eight hours, there is a possibility that a meltdown will occur," the person said, according to the summary released on Friday. [...]

The revelation will add to the impression among the Japanese public that their political masters were less than transparent in their handling of the crisis. [...]

But the chief cabinet secretary at the time Yukio Edano, the public face of the government's response to the crisis, repeatedly denied the notion of a meltdown for weeks after March 11.

Edano, now the minister of economy, trade and industry, told reporters late Friday after the records of the meetings were released: "I humbly accept criticism that I could not tell you of the possibility of meltdown." [...]

The government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) maintained for months there had been no meltdown at Fukushima, despite repeated warnings from independent experts.

Tokyo was seen as being quick to silence dissent on the issue, with a spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency being replaced after telling a news conference the day after the disaster that meltdown was a possibility.

Only in mid-May did the government and TEPCO admit that three of the six reactors suffered meltdowns.

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