GSDF commander says he thought Japan done for as he faced Fukushima nuke crisis, Mainichi Daily News, Dec. 31, 2011:
Toshinobu Miyajima, commanding general of the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) Central Readiness Force when it was desperately trying to bring the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant under control, thought at one point that Japan was done for, he recalled in a recent interview with the Mainichi. [...]
Question: Were you afraid of being exposed to radiation?
Since it was a totally unexpected mission, SDF members were extremely worried about it. The deputy commanding general who led forces in the disaster areas visited them first, confirmed the situation and reported to me with a smile: “There’s no problem.” This reassured members of the force, and allowed them to calmly carry out their mission. I received a report that a radiation alarm was constantly beeping while water was being sprayed from fire engines (onto the reactors). However, all those involved in the work were dressed in protective gear and managed their radiation doses, so I wasn’t worried much.
Question: Did you assume the worst-case scenario?
I arranged models on a map in the commander’s office without being noticed by my subordinates, and repeatedly simulated expansions of the evacuation zone to 100 to 200 kilometers from the power plant. At one point, I thought Japan was finished. We never use the phrase, “beyond the scope of assumptions.” We can’t respond to a catastrophe unless we place even the worst possible situations within the scope of our assumptions.
Published: December 31st, 2011 at 9:09 am ET