Tokyo (AsiaNews) - The Fukushima nuclear accident of 11 March 2011 was "man-made" caused by human error and "cannot be regarded as a natural disaster," said the Japanese parliamentary commission set up to investigate the matter. The accident "was a profoundly manmade disaster that could and should have been foreseen and prevented". The report found "serious deficiencies in the response to the accident by Tepco, regulators and the government".
The ten-member Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC) chaired by Tokyo University professor emeritus Kiyoshi Kurokawa slams the nuclear plant's entire control system and government supervision. The "accident was clearly 'manmade,'" and "The government, the regulators, [and] Tepco management lacked [. . .] the mindset to" protect people and society.
The earthquake and the tsunami that hit the coastline of Fukushima Prefecture causing the partial meltdown of the core in one of the nuclear reactors were manageable. The "accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and [private plant operator] Tepco, and the lack of governance by said parties."
On 11 March, the plant was vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis. Yet, even though they had plenty of opportunities to adopt adequate measures, regulators and Tepco deliberately delayed their decision and failed to take protective action.
The report does not blame nuclear power per se. In order to meet its energy needs, the authorities have built almost 50 nuclear reactors since the end of the Second World War despite the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They were all shut down after Fukushima on the wave of emotions generated by the disaster. At the same time, the government ordered their overhaul.
Things are changing now. In the absence of nuclear power, Japan's energy supplies declined by 30 per cent at a time when its GDP took a nose dive.
Under Japan's current Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, orders were issued to restart two reactors with the PM assuming "ultimate responsibility" for the decision.