Japan Kept Silent On Worst
Nuclear Crisis Scenario
Fukushima Nuclear Plant
EMF Computer Protection
Magnetic Field Detector
TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese government's worst-case scenario
at the height of the nuclear crisis last year warned that
tens of millions of people, including Tokyo residents, might
need to leave their homes, according to a report obtained by
The Associated Press. But fearing widespread panic,
officials kept the report secret.
The recent emergence of the 15-page internal document may
add to complaints in Japan that the government withheld too
much information about the world's worst nuclear accident
It also casts doubt about whether the government was
sufficiently prepared to cope with what could have been an
evacuation of unprecedented scale.
The report was submitted to then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan
and his top advisers on March 25, two weeks after the
earthquake and tsunami devastated the Fukushima Dai-ichi
nuclear power plant, causing three reactors to melt down and
generating hydrogen explosions that blew away protective
Workers ultimately were able to bring the reactors under
control, but at the time, it was unclear whether emergency
measures would succeed. Kan commissioned the report,
compiled by the Japan Atomic Energy Commission, to examine
what options the government had if those efforts failed.
Authorities evacuated 59,000 residents within 20 kilometers
(12 miles) of the Fukushima plant, with thousands more were
evacuated from other towns later. The report said there was
a chance far larger evacuations could be needed.
The report looked at several ways the crisis could escalate
— explosions inside the reactors, complete meltdowns, and
the structural failure of cooling pools used for spent
It said that each contingency was possible at the time it
was written, and could force all workers to flee the
vicinity, meaning the situation at the plant would unfold on
its own, unmitigated.
Using matter-of-fact language, diagrams and charts, the
report said that if meltdowns spiral out of control,
radiation levels could soar.
In that case, it said evacuation orders should be issued for
residents within and possibly beyond a 170-kilometer (105
mile) radius of the plant and "voluntary" evacuations should
be offered for everyone living within 250 kilometers (155
miles) and even beyond that range.
That's an area that would have included Tokyo and its
suburbs, with a population of 35 million people, and other
major cities such as Sendai, with a million people, and
Fukushima city with 290,000 people.
The report further warned that contaminated areas might not
be safe for "several decades."
"We cannot rule out further developments that may lead to an
unpredictable situation at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant,
where there has been an accident, and this report outlines a
summary of that unpredictable situation," says the document,
written by Shunsuke Kondo, head of the commission, which
oversees nuclear policy.
After Kan received the report, he and other Japanese
officials publicly insisted that there was no need to
prepare for wider-scale evacuations.
Rumors of the document grew this month after media reports
outlined its findings and an outside panel was created to
investigate possible coverups. Kyodo News agency described
the contents of the document in detail on Saturday.
The government continues to refuse to make the document
public. The AP obtained it Wednesday through a government
source, who insisted on anonymity because the document was
still categorized as internal.
Goshi Hosono, the Cabinet minister in charge of the nuclear
crisis, implicitly acknowledged the document's existence
earlier this month, but said the government had felt no need
to make it public.
It was a scenario based on hypothesis, and even in the event
of such a development, we were told that residents would
have enough time to evacuate," Hosono said.
"We were concerned about the possibility of causing
excessive and unnecessary worry if we went ahead and made it
public," he said. "That's why we decided not to disclose
A Japanese government nuclear policy official, Masato
Nakamura, said Wednesday that he stood behind Hosono's
decisions on the document.
"It was all his decisions," he said. "We do not disclose all
Japanese authorities and regulators have been repeatedly
criticized for how they have handled information amid the
unfolding nuclear crisis. Officials initially denied that
the reactors had melted down, and have been accused of
playing down the health risks of exposure to radiation.
In another example, a radiation warning system known as
SPEEDI had identified high-risk areas where thousands of
people were continuing to live while the reactors were in
critical condition. Officials did not use that data to order
evacuations; they have since said it was not accurate
The outside panel investigating the government response to
the nuclear crisis has been critical, calling for more
transparency in relaying information to the public.
"Risk communication during the disaster cannot be said to
have been proper at all," it said in its interim report last