Japan says Fukushima was 'man-made' disaster


The crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station is seen through a bus window in Okuma on November 12, 2011. Japan took a group of journalists inside the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant for the first time, stepping up its efforts to prove to the world it is on top of the disaster.


David Guttenfelder

A parliamentary panel in Japan has found that the nuclear accident at the Fukushima plant in March last year was a “man-made” disaster, Agence France Presse reported.

The investigating commission blamed the government, regulators and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), saying the plant was vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis because the authorities had failed to take action.

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Contributing factors included the government’s lack of commitment to protect the public, and a failure by regulators to provide adequate prevention, the report said, describing the errors as "willful negligence".

The panel’s chairman, Tokyo University emeritus professor Kiyoshi Kurokawa, wrote in the report that the Fukushima meltdown could “not be regarded as a natural disaster,” even though it had been triggered by cataclysmic events, Bloomberg reported.

Kurokawa also said a more effective human response could have mitigated the effects of the disaster, in which tens of thousands of residents were evacuated from an exclusion zone after the plant’s equipment failures.

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The panel was established by the Japanese parliament in May 2011 to examine the handling of the crisis, and to make recommendations, the BBC reported.

In order to ensure Japan’s nuclear safety, the report said regulators needed to get rid of their “insular attitude of ignoring international safety standards.”