Former Japan Premier Sues PM for Libel Over Fukushima Comments : Voice of America

Election time in Japan.


July 16, 2013
TOKYO — Japan’s prime minister at the time of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster said on Tuesday he would sue the current premier, Shinzo Abe, for defamation over an article criticizing the emergency operation he supervised during the crisis.

Naoto Kan, now a lawmaker for the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, took the highly unusual step only a few days before an upper house election, on Sunday, in which nuclear power is one of the most hotly debated issues.

Kan has become a vocal opponent of nuclear power in the wake of the disaster, while Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) wants atomic energy to help pull the economy out of stagnation.

About two-thirds of the public opposes nuclear power.

Kan headed the government when an earthquake and tsunami killed nearly 20,000 people and set off the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years when the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant was destroyed, leaking radiation into the sea and air.

In an article from May 20, 2011, still visible on Abe’s website, Abe criticized Kan for taking credit for the decision to cool the melting nuclear reactors with seawater. He said Kan had not been aware of the operation at first, then stopped it only to finally restart it after consulting experts.
“The content is based on totally false information. The article has severely damaged my honor,” Kan told a news conference at parliament, adding that he had asked Abe to remove the article several times.

Kan demanded that Abe immediately delete the story, apologize and pay 11 million yen ($110,100) in compensation.

Kan has been credited with playing an important role in stopping the crisis from getting worse by preventing the operator of the crippled plant, Tokyo Electric Power, from abandoning the plant and pulling out its workers.

Cooling the nuclear reactors with seawater was seen as key to preventing the situation at the crippled plant from getting completely out of control.

All of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors were hut down after the disaster.

A decision by the previous government to re-start two of them last year was met with the biggest protests in decades and contributed to the government’s defeat in a December election.

Still, opinion polls show strong support for the LDP, buoyed by hopes that Abe’s hyper-easy monetary policy, public spending and structural reform will bolster growth and jolt Japan out of years of stagnation.

end quote.

Alternately, the New York Times the following:

The New York Times
Published: July 9, 2013

“When the tsunami hit, Mr. Yoshida took command from inside a fortified bunker at the plant. In video footage of the command room released by Tokyo Electric last year, Mr. Yoshida can be seen at times pushing his workers to hook up water hoses or procure fuel, at times tearfully apologizing to teams he sent out to check on the stricken reactors.

At one point, he ignores orders from Prime Minister Naoto Kan to STOP injecting seawater into one of the reactors, a last-ditch measure taken by plant workers to try to cool it.

He later offers to lead a “suicide mission” with other older officials to try pumping water into another reactor, but is dissuaded. And as officials warn that core meltdowns have most likely started, he directs men to leave the reactors but stays put in the bunker. Mr. Yoshida later said that the thought of abandoning the plant never occurred to him.

“I fear we are in acute danger,” Mr. Yoshida is heard saying in the video shortly after yet another blast rocks the command room. “But let’s calm down a little. Let’s all take a deep breath. Inhale, exhale.”

Masao Yoshida was born on Feb. 17, 1955, in Osaka, Japan, to a family that ran a small advertising firm. An only child, he spent much of his middle and high school years practicing the Japanese martial art kendo. He went on to study nuclear engineering at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and joined Tokyo Electric after graduate school.

He worked his way up through the company’s nuclear power division, overseeing its nuclear facilities from 2007 until being appointed chief of Fukushima Daiichi in June 2010. The tsunami that struck the plant was the largest in recent memory. He led the disaster response for eight months before going on sick leave.” end quote. Source:

Of course, the full complexity of the situation will come out in court. AS far as most voters might be concerned, it’s all water under the pressure vessels now. It’s all very fishy.

Tepco workers coping with the results of decades of denial and uselessness by government and industry of all political colours. Source: Fukushima radioactive groundwater readings rocket Fox News, Published July 09, 2013 AFP

Government and industry had been warned for the same period by diverse authorities including the AEC itself:

“The system design of the nuclear power plants built in the late 1960s raised questions of operational safety, and raised the concern that a severe reactor accident could release large quantities of radioactive materials into the atmosphere and environment. By 1970, there were doubts about the ability of the emergency cooling systems of a nuclear reactor to prevent a loss of coolant accident and the consequent meltdown of the fuel core; the subject proved popular in the technical and the popular presses.[16] In 1971, in the article Thoughts on Nuclear Plumbing, former Manhattan Project (1942–1946) nuclear physicist Ralph Lapp used the term “China syndrome” to describe a possible burn-through, after a loss of coolant accident, of the nuclear fuel rods and core components melting the containment structures, and the subsequent escape of radioactive material(s) into the atmosphere and environment; the hypothesis derived from a 1967 report by a group of nuclear physicists, headed by W. K. Ergen.[17]

[17] Lapp, Ralph E. “Thoughts on nuclear plumbing.” The New York Times, 12 December 1971, pg. E11.







Ralph Lapp was an AEC employee and remained so.


Annual Review of Energy
Vol. 10: 431-462 (Volume publication date November 1985)
DOI: 10.1146/

“He (the Chair of the AEC at the time) called on nuclear engineers to come up with a technical fix….”
(Spiewak and Weinberg, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, 1985)

The “technical fix” at Fukushima Diiachi today:

Tepco workers coping with the results of decades of denial and uselessness by government and industry of all political colours. Source: Fukushima radioactive groundwater readings rocket Fox News, Published July 09, 2013 AFP

“Naoto Kan (菅 直人 Kan Naoto?, born 10 October 1946) is a Japanese politician, and former Prime Minister of Japan. In June 2010, then-Finance Minister Kan was elected as the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and designated Prime Minister by the Diet”

Mr Kan, please explain why you believe you were part of the “technical fix” urged by nuclear authorities from the 1970s until the present day.

Prior to March 2011, all the predictive information was available to you but you failed to heed it. Like all other leaders in nuclear powered nations.

You want a court to valid your honour?


For the whole of your adult life the facts which predicted the March 2011 outcome and the current crisis have been existed in the technical and journalistic record.

If you were blind to them sir, that was your choice. If you have now changed your mind, that also is your choice. A tad late, a bit slack, but better late than never.

When a person follows the biggest crowd and thus becomes a leader, life must be pretty confounding when the times change and the crowd reforms as a polar opposite of its former self.

Better to think for oneself and not give damn about crowds.

I suppose that is hard to do for a politician, who seeks authority not their own, but which merely on loan from the people.

In the face of an ignorant social setting, it is better for a person of moral courage to become a hermit than it is to participate in the cruelty of ambition such a setting dictates.

Eventually, the hermits will form a new society.