via Asahi Shimbun / May 24, 2014 / Successive Cabinets have refused to release details of firsthand accounts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, despite an understanding by a government investigation committee that the information from 772 interviewees could be made public.
The media and other third parties have been denied access to the testimonies about Japan’s worst-ever nuclear accident. The government is still showing reluctance even after The Asahi Shimbun started reporting excerpts from interviews involving Masao Yoshida, who was the manager of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant when it was hit by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
When pressed on the issue, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga (pictured) said May 23 the government could only release the records if it receives permission from the interviewees.
“There will be no problem if (they) make requests (to disclose their testimonies),” the government’s top spokesman said at a news conference.
But The Asahi Shimbun learned that the government’s Investigation Committee on the Accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations had agreed on July 8, 2011, before it started the investigation, that those interviewed could disclose the content of their interviews, such videotaped testimonies to the media.
The panel agreed that the interviews would be closed sessions.
It also said it would disclose testimonies “to the extent necessary” and withhold contents that might reveal identities and information that the interviewees do not want released.