x8:57 pm, August 30, 2014

The government plans to disclose, as soon as early September, the contents of interviews with Masao Yoshida, the manager of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant at the time of the March 2011 disaster.

Before his death in July 2013, Yoshida submitted a written statement to the government’s Nuclear Incident Investigation and Verification Committee, asking that the interviews not be made public. However, the government decided to disclose them because from May on, some news organizations reported part of the interviews, which were conducted by the government committee.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference Monday that keeping the records secret would actually contradict Yoshida’s intentions, given that several newspapers had carried articles describing only part of the records.

Suga said the government plans to redact some parts of the documents that are related to the rights and financial interests of third parties, as well as national security.

Asahi reports contradict interviews

The Asahi Shimbun reported in its May 20 issue that workers at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant violated Yoshida’s orders and withdrew from plant buildings, but the records say Yoshida did not order them to remain in the compound.

The Asahi reports brought into the public eye the issue of disclosing information the government has kept private. The Asahi Shimbun said the article was based on the records and internal documents of Tokyo Electric Power Co.

“Actually, I didn’t order them [staff] to go to 2F [the Fukushima No. 2 plant]. I meant to tell them to temporarily evacuate to places near the Fukushima No. 1 plant where the radiation dose levels were low, and wait for instructions,” Yoshida said in an interview.

But his instructions were not accurately transmitted to the staff, and about 650 people, or about 90 percent of the staff, left for the Fukushima No. 2 power plant.

Yoshida said: “When I was told they had left for 2F, I said, ‘That can’t be helped.’ Then I said, ‘Tell them to contact me when they arrive at 2F, and tell group managers [senior staff] to return first,’” according to the records.

Yoshida’s next statement is a key point. “But going to 2F was actually a far better decision when I consider it carefully,” he said.

This statement indicates that the staff’s decision to leave the power plant was ultimately appropriate, even though they did not act as Yoshida instructed.

Yoshida said in the interviews that he did not use the term “full retreat.” He defined the term “evacuation” as “a temporary movement of staff, while retaining those who are needed to control the plant.”Speech

Source:  The Yomiuri Shimbun