Former Prime Minister Kan: Evacuation after Fukushima could have reached 50 million people

Published: January 26th, 2013 at 11:45 am ET
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Title: Read all about it: How Kan-do attitude averted the meltdown of Japan
Source: The Japan Times
Author: Roger Pulvers
Date: Jan 25, 2013

[...] Published in paperback by Gentosha in October last year, “Tōden Fukushima Genpatsu Jiko Sōri Toshite Kangaeta Koto” (“My Thoughts as Prime Minister on the Tepco Fukushima Nuclear Plant Accident”), the book is a highly revealing document of those events as witnessed and written by the person at the very center of decision-making in Japan, the prime minister at the time, Naoto Kan. [...]

The first week after the accident was a nightmare,” he writes. [...]

Kan takes up the narrative: “It was at 3 a.m. when Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Banri Kaeda came to the Residence with the news that Masataka Shimizu, president of Tepco, had put in a request to withdraw from the nuclear plant site.

“If I (had let this happen), 50 million people would have to be evacuated within a few weeks. … The very announcement to evacuate would result in mass panic.” [...]

See also: Mainichi Expert Sr. Writer: All of eastern Japan evacuated if Fukushima plant was abandoned?

Published: January 26th, 2013 at 11:45 am ET
By
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42 comments

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42 comments to Former Prime Minister Kan: Evacuation after Fukushima could have reached 50 million people

  • ftlt

    First week???… How about the first 3 years???… And the many more to come???… Ya wanker


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    • Jay

      Let's analyze this again : out of his book about Fukushima is this the most important or shocking revelation ??
      How about the battery screw-up during the incident when no one had the 'courage' to take the batteries out of their own cars , passers-bys and police to open the electromagnetic valves of the cooling pipes , etc ?
      How about when the Japanese software was not compatible with the American one that provided the radiation data ?

      Washy-wash 'memoires' specially considering that he was at the helm . Hence what he is not saying , he is hiding …


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  • I think the leaders of Japan (and elsewhere) suffer from 'Masspanicphopia'.

    "The very announcement to evacuate would result in mass panic."
    – Kan

    How do they know?

    The truth is, it would result in people denouncing Nuclear Power.

    Then why did they build these Death Machines in the first place if a big part of their safety plan is useless?


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    There were approximately 380,000 evacuated.. I believe…NOT ENOUGH.


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  • I Dont Know

    I think Dr. Caldicott said in her latest interview PM Kan might be calling in to the Fukushima Symposium

    http://enenews.com/caldicott-terribly-alarming-whats-happening-in-japan-children-showed-signs-of-radiation-sickness-after-311-lies-are-being-fed-to-the-people-audio

    It appears ex-PM Kan learned his lesson about nuclear energy.

    imo, Japan would be much better off with Kan than the newest PM Abe.

    http://www.helencaldicott.com/2012/12/helen-caldicott-foundations-fukushima-symposium/


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  • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

    So…the only reason for not protecting the population was due to the possibility that someone would be hurt?! Even that's some far-out spin for a politician. GW…eat your black heart out…

    Isn't this the land where everybody patiently stands in line to purchase food…during national emergencies? Where does this guy get off trying to sell us the idea that these people would panic? Guess hiding the truth from his constituents was far more noble a public service.


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  • or-well

    Looking ahead…will Kans' book help stiffen public resistance to nuclear power in Japan?
    Will it be another straw on the camels' back?
    Impossible to say, I guess.

    Anyone here read it? (Hello, quiet lurkers…Japanese speakers…)

    Is Kan now considered just a loser? Yesterdays' news?


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    • J.

      Kan was utterly ignored in his recent re-election campaign. He was photographed standing on the street corner with microphone, talking to absolutely no one. The public seems to blame him for the response to the quake, tsunami, and meltdown, and for all the economic troubles facing Japan.

      I think he has become the scapegoat for systemic failure, and it would not surprise me if his account of forbidding TEPCO evacuation of the site is true. That said, it may be a long time before the full truth about Fukushima emerges, if ever.

      If his account is complete and true, then Kan should be revered for saving the nation. Perhaps in time he will be.


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      • I Dont Know

        I agree with J. that Kan has become the scapegoat.

        Quotes from the article showing Kan was really on his own, doing the best he could with what limited information he had:

        “The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency is responsible for dealing with nuclear accidents,” writes Kan, “and yet they could give me nothing in the way of explanation or an estimation of what might transpire."

        …..

        "Yet the record is unequivocal: Tepco found itself unable to control events as they took one turn after another for the worse; and had the prime minister not intervened to consolidate decision-making and expedite emergency measures, a pall of radiation may very well have descended over the entire Kanto region, where the capital is located."

        The article goes on to say the pro-nuclear lobby and nuclear industry wants to blur the responsibility in order "to re-legitimize nuclear-power generation in these seismically active islands."


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      • Time Is Short Time Is Short

        "If his account is complete and true, then Kan should be revered for saving the nation. Perhaps in time he will be."

        Other than 'maybe' ordering the Fukushima staff to remain on site, he is responsible for everything else that has gone wrong, in terms of inadequacy of response. He certainly didn't build them, but he did sign the treaty with Hillary not to test for radioactivity in the food. What did Japan get out of that treaty?

        He's just trying to save face. He's a murderer, just like the rest. The only US President that 'might' have written an honest book is Jimmy Carter. The rest are all trying to 'put lipstick on a pig'. And that's being polite.


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Shows how stupidly dangerous nuclear reactors are.


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  • Mr. Kan says what he can. And doesn't say what he can't. But we can read between the lines. The company wanted to abandon the accident, cut its losses and run. They actually thought that was a reasonable response to the triple melt through surrounded by a large quantity of spent fuel rods which require maintenance to avoid nuclear fires. My God what a bunch of clowns Tepco Brass are. So Kan the Leader at least kept the cowards at their posts. I guess he is saying abandonning the reactor would nesesitate a 50 million person evacuation. Now the radiation is mitigated to managable levels. Which I see as meaning no immediate danger. Sure people will have shortened lives but they are not dropping dead on the street. If the accident was abandoned Kan figured he really would have to evacuate. So he invisioned a bigger mess then what we have. Maybe the Yakuza on site are forcing the executives and everybody else to work on the Prime Ministers orders!


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    • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

      you had me Mark, up-until the part where you "…guess he is saying abandoning the reactor would necessitate a 50 million person evacuation. Now the radiation is mitigated to managable levels. Which I see as meaning no immediate danger. Sure people will have shortened lives but they are not dropping dead on the street."

      I'd beg to differ on more than one of these statements. "…mitigated to manageable levels"?! That one is simply stunning. Then there's "…no immediate danger."; that people are not "…dropping dead on the street." What am I missing here Mark?

      I don't want to presume anything about you. You've been out here long enough to know the score. We're a ways away from dead bodies being piled on sidewalks; I'll give you that. But please keep in mind, there's been no credible explanation to why the United States is going through one of its worse-on-record flu seasons. Yet we both know, a massive amount of radiation just happened to land within its confines, just a little over a year ago. Coincidence, or, are we looking at the initial signs of what's to come? We're also reading tons of horror stories coming out of Japan, itself!

      Just about everything else you've touched upon, about Kan, makes sense to me. I just need clarification on, what can only be described as a whitewashing of the resulting damage from these meltdowns…


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    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      "Sure people will have shortened lives but they are not dropping dead on the street."

      Oh, really?

      blog.goo.ne.jp/adoi

      http://enenews.com/new-study-serious-concern-over-long-term-health-consequences-from-fukushima-disaster-8-times-more-cancer-deaths-than-predicted

      Scroll down to happy9kids posts. Gruesome.

      I've had two in my neighborhood recently. There will be many more to come.


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  • Quoting Kan, "this was an enemy created by the Japanese people themselves that a major nuclear accident will not occur." Same thing happening in countless countries, Canada included. Kan is out of politics and can now say he is against nuclear. That is something.


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  • Kan said "The very announcement to evacuate would result in mass panic."…
    … The very silence about evacuation is resulting today in mass extermination.

    http://kanaky.x90x.net p.20


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  • weeman

    Mr Kan you rolled the dice if the plant had total lose of control you would have killed 50 million people, you are lucky I am glad of that, but you still rolled snake eyes and you were responsible for contaminating 50 million people and only time will tell how many people you could have saved from a life of worry and sickness.
    Empathy is not a word in your society?


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    • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

      and let's not forget, weeman, about the genetic damage to future generations and innumerable abortions that will result from his decision…


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    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      "…contaminating 50 million people…"

      Every life form on this planet has been exposed in some way, and will continue to be as the global radioactivity levels from Fukushima exponentially increase. There is no number to attack to a global ELE.

      What Aftershock speaks of is only the first couple of decades.


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  • J.

    http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3453563.htm

    The link above indicates that Kan's role has been controversial for some time.

    Kan was utterly ignored in his recent re-election campaign. He was photographed standing on the street corner with microphone, talking to absolutely no one. The public seems to blame him for the response to the quake, tsunami, and meltdown, and for all the economic troubles facing Japan.
    I think he has become the scapegoat for systemic failure, and it would not surprise me if his account of forbidding TEPCO evacuation of the site is true. That said, it may be a long time before the full truth about Fukushima emerges, if ever.
    If his account is complete and true, then Kan should be revered for saving the nation. Perhaps in time he will be.


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  • ovation

    I'm waiting for the story titled "Evacuation after Fukushima SHOULD have reached 50 million people"


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  • patb2009

    "“If I (had let this happen), 50 million people would have to be evacuated within a few weeks. … The very announcement to evacuate would result in mass panic.” [...]"

    50 million people still need to be evacuated.

    The problem was that to evacuate that many people meant, using criteria. I would have
    evacuated All Children, All women of child bearing age, All Family men under age 40 and
    all single men under 35.

    Everyone above those criteria have to stay or get out on their own.

    THat also meant the Japanese would take the Trillion dollars in US Government debt they hold and
    bought all the vacant houses in America.

    THis would have not result in a mass panic in Japan, the Japanese are an orderly people, the panic would have been financial.

    A trillion dollars in bonds getting liquidated would have started a mass financial panic. Interest rates would jump up, the $/JPY would move hard, and all sorts of export supply chains would start busting.
    Not to mention the internal problems of Japan.

    It'd get fixed but in the midst of the Tsunami damage, it would have been a mess.

    They needed to be loading people onto ships and getting them out of the country as fast as possible.

    it's just hard to be the "Last Prime Minister of Japan".


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  • HoTaters

    We know after Reactor 3 (and SFP?) detonated on March 15, 2011. The wind changed, and the radiation was carried on shore. The plume went directly over Tokyo, then northestern Japan.

    Thus Kan's wording should read, "SHOULD have been evacuated," instead of, "would have to be evacuated." Had he acted responsibly, that is. As head of state, he should have coordinated evacuation efforts right down to the local level. Or he should have delegated this job to a qualified ad hoc team or committee.

    Instead it appears he just cowed down to the nuclear industry and helped in the international cover up effort. (Remember the NRC transcripts in which NRC officials and/or the DOE tell the National nuclear laboratories such as Los Alamos Nat'l Labs to just shut up? Do you recall how they discussed what could happen "if the media gets ahold of this" ?

    Thus the Japanese people and many U.S. military personnel, foreign nationals working in Japan were sacrificed to the nuclear cabal.

    I'll not mince words here.

    everyone in the vicinity of an indu


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    • HoTaters

      Hmmn, truncated.

      Panic my butt. It is incumbent on all governments, where modern industry exists with the potential for large scale, toxic accidents occur, to have adequate emergency plans in place. This is especially true where nuclear facilities exist, or factories with the killing potential of Dow Chemical's Bhopal plant, for example. Lots of those all over the globe.

      The emergency planning should be coordinated down to the level of local teams, acting with or without direction, to evacuate people when necessary. When I worked at a corporate headquarters, in a large skyscraper, in a large city, our disaster plans would have allowed us to shelter in place for at least three days. We knew who the first, second, and third team leaders were. Those persons were trained in CPR and first aid. We knew what to do until emergency personnel (first responders) could arrive.

      Those kinds of plans should be in place in every city with industrial facilities. We have seen how dismally government entities such as FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) have failed, in protecting the people in a natural disaster. One need only look at what happened after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy to see proof of this statement.

      Likely what is needed is for people on the grassroots level to begin to put their own emergency task forces in place. Then they can mobilize and take action as needed, instead of waiting for poorly informed officials at remote locations to assess the situation.


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      • HoTaters

        In that way, action could and would be taken quickly. Mr. Kan is likely correct in stating evacuation would have caused panic. That would have likely happened because it took so long for the government to get its poop in a pile and figure out what to do.

        Grassroots, local teams can draft plans, and have a means of communication with government entities at a higher level.

        At some point, local communities have to make decisions about things like evacuation for themselves.

        Of course crucial to this whole scenario is a means for local people and/or local officials to monitor data on air quality, etc. This would assume in the case of nuclear the teams or local officials had access to data on radiation levels and sources. It would be difficult to get the plant personnel/managers to comply to disclosure. Tepco/Dow Chemical, case in point.

        We must begin to take care of ourselves, beginning at the local level. We can't sit around and wait for high level decision makers to collect data (at distance from the problem), and make decisions which may or may not be appropriate. People can and do get sick and die when entities like FEMA or the Japanese or East Indian governments are involved. It just takes too long for them to respond, and act appropriately.

        Just my two or three cent's worth.


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        • HoTaters

          OK, all that being said, if local officials had been empowered to take action in Japan, mass panic could likely have been avoided. The Japanese (per my own observations, but limited ones) possess a lot of self control. I just don't picture them acting in mass panic unless TPTB told them they'd already been exposed to life high levels of "low level radiation, sarc. intended). If they knew their children had already been put in harm's way (which was absolutely preventable!!!!!!) then yes, perhaps they would have panicked.

          The people at the higher levels, like Mr. Kan, are condescending to and patronizing the maturity and rationality of their own people. It is very disappointing to see this paternalistic (and mistaken) attitude.


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          • HoTaters

            The people should have been evacuated within a 50 mile (or equivalent in km) radius as soon as it was known the plants were likely to melt down. And that was known, very early on in the crisis — perhaps as early as four hours after it began.


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            • HoTaters

              Tokyo? Well, that's another story. There were likely only a few hours to take action once Reactor 3 had blown up. But IMHO the plans for evacuation should ALREADY have been in place. Japan is a country with lots of nuclear plants. It's inexcusable to have an adequate disaster and evacuation plan in place.


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    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      "Thus the Japanese people and many U.S. military personnel, foreign nationals working in Japan were sacrificed to the nuclear cabal."

      There's the key point, HoTaters. Even if Kan was a murderous asohole against his own people, why didn't the US evacuate all their military personnel and families? That was a purely US decision, one straight from the White House.

      And that item has not been lost on any of our military personnel, either.


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