Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kyodo news, The Associated Press: Kan nuclear adviser fed up, quits


 Tokyo professor calls response impromptu, says short-term thinking resulted in delays.

 Prime Minister Naoto Kan defended his government's handling of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant on Saturday, a day after one of his advisers on the emergency vowed to resign in protest at what he called the state's lax response.


Toshiso Kosako


 Kan told the Lower House Budget Committee the departure of Toshiso Kosako, a professor on antiradiation safety measures at the University of Tokyo's graduate school who assumed the advisory post March 16, is extremely unfortunate.
 "We are dealing with the crisis based on the advice that comes as a result of discussions by the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan. Our handling of the crisis has never been impromptu," Kan said.
Kosako told the government Friday he will resign as Kan's adviser.
 "The government has belittled laws and taken measures only for the present moment, resulting in delays in bringing the situation under control," Kosako said.
 It is extremely rare for an intellectual adviser appointed by the prime minister to resign in protest at measures the government has taken.
 Kosako told reporters at the Diet on Friday it is problematic for the government to have delayed the release of forecasts on the spread of radiation from the Fukushima plant, done by the Nuclear Safety Technology Center's computer system, called the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI).
 He also blasted the government for hiking the upper limit for emergency workers seeking to bring the crippled plant under control to 250 millisieverts from 100 millisieverts after the crisis broke out.
 "The prime minister's office and administrative organizations have made impromptu policy decisions, like playing a whack-a-mole game, ignoring proper procedures," the radiation expert said.
 He also urged the government to stiffen guidelines on upper limits on radiation levels the education ministry recently announced as allowable levels for elementary school grounds in Fukushima Prefecture, where the radiation-leaking plant is located.
 The guidelines announced by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry "are inconsistent with internationally commonsensical figures and they were determined by the administration to serve its interests," he said.
 As the only country to experience an atomic bombing, Japan has long had a powerful antinuclear movement, and such protests have become louder.
 Yoshiko Nakamura, 50, a part-time worker, was among 450 who gathered Saturday in Tokyo's Yoyogi Park. The demonstrators beat drums, shouted "No more nukes" and held banners that read "Electricity in Tokyo, sacrifice in Fukushima."
 "We knew all along nuclear power was dangerous. I just didn't know how to express myself," said Nakamura, taking part in her second demonstration in two weeks. "This is a great opportunity to send a message and voice my fears."
 Such demonstrations have become more frequent, including during the Golden Week holidays, which continue through the weekend and this week. "What I had feared might happen has become reality," said Kenji Kitamura, a 48-year-old office worker. "It is outrageous children are being exposed to such high levels of radiation."

©japantimes.co.jp




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