ABC: Prime Minister Kan still worries about what would happen if area where people couldn’t live spread to 200 or 300 km — Leaked memo shows fears of radioactive cloud reaching Tokyo (AUDIO)

Published: March 5th, 2012 at 12:21 am ET
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Title: More Fukushima panic stories emerge 05/03/2012
Source: ABC Australia
Author: Mark Willacy
Date: Monday, March 5, 2012 08:24:00

TONY EASTLEY: [...] The latest is an internal official memo confirming that the Japanese government decided to withhold alarming radiation forecasts from the public in the days immediately after the meltdowns. 

North Asia correspondent Mark Willacy reports from Tokyo.

MARK WILLACY: [...] What the minister Yoshiaki Takaki and his top officials saw just a couple of days after the meltdowns was chilling.

According to a leaked internal government memo it was feared that radioactive clouds could spread from the gutted nuclear plant all the way south to Kanto – in other words to Tokyo.

According to the then vice-minister Kan Suzuki, the decision was taken to withhold that information from the public, fearing it would generate mass panic.

The then prime minister Naoto Kan has already acknowledged that the worst-case scenario – the evacuation of millions from Tokyo – was broached.

(Sound of Naoto Kan speaking)

“When I was in the middle of it all, what worried me was what would happen if the area where people couldn’t live spread to 200, 300 kilometres,” said Mr Kan in a recent interview. “That’s what worried me then. That’s what worries me still,” he says.[...]

Listen to the report here

Published: March 5th, 2012 at 12:21 am ET
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