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‘Japan too proud to ask for Fukushima foreign help’

Published time: December 24, 2013 09:06
A Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) employee wearing a protective suit and mask uses a survey meter near storage tanks for radioactive water in the H4 area where radioactive water leaked from a storage tank in August, at the tsunami-crippled TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture November 7, 2013.(Reuters / Kimimasa Mayama)

The nuclear energy industry in Japan relies on unskilled and uneducated daily workers, and even now the country will not invite foreign experts to help with the Fukushima cleanup due to national pride, Alex Kerr, an expert on Japan, told RT.

RT: There have already been countless reports of toxic leaks and here's a fresh one in a new reactor. Why can’t they get control here?

Alex Kerr: It’s an ongoing story. The real problem is that the government has put so much energy into hiding the information that at this point I can say that nobody knows what’s really going on.

RT: Japan won the right to host the Summer Olympic Games in 2020, but activists worldwide have been raising concerns that it is not the best place to hold them, due to health concerns. Are these worries justified?

AK: I don’t think they are justified in a sense that it is going to impact Tokyo. I think people could really come to the Games and not worry about it. But Fukushima Prefecture and the areas around it are going to be seriously affected for decades, maybe a century. Parts of it will be pretty much unlivable. Not to mention the fears that we have of the radioactivity flowing into the ocean. No one can imagine what the long-term effects are going to be for sea life and many other things.

RT: There were media reports that the containment tanks that have been leaking were built in part by illegal employees, who lacked experience and were forced to rush. Does this suggest there are lots more secrets we don't know about?

AK: Of course. Because the entire system of management of TEPCO, in fact the entire nuclear energy in Japan, has been to rely on unskilled, uneducated, non-specialist daily workers, guys that are picked up from the streets and are paid a daily wage, some of them didn’t even realize they were going to a radioactive area. It’s not professional, it’s a comedy of errors and [there] are just many tanks, many structures that were built hurriedly, without expertise, without consulting international specialists. It’s fair to say that it is a big mess and it will get worse.

RT: Experts say Japan is obviously failing to safely clean up the plant and needs help from outside. Do you agree?

AK: I do agree. I think it’s very difficult for Japan to do that for reasons of national pride and also because as soon as you bring the outsiders it upsets the thing they call a “nuclear village,” that’s a term we use in Japan for the scientists, the academics, the bureaucrats, the politicians and the contractors, operators in these cozy interrelated situations when anyone who comes in from outside and demands some kind of openness and professionalism will upset that nice situation. So it’s very difficult to actually bring them in and make use of them.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Comments (17)


mergon 14.03.2014 09:43

Iv sussed it ,they have no way of getting rid of the waste because there is to much of it ,so what they have to do is to create another tsunami with a nuclear bomb placed in front of an undersea shelf , and then who is going to know the difference ?


Free_DrVojislavSeselj 25.02.2014 06:56

gary weinstein 11.01.2014 12:05

Japan has a unique culture in that their nationalism and religion are the same. T


Y ou hear that a lot from students of Japan, and it does nothing to cover the fact Japan's foreign policy towards a natural partner next door in Russia has been nothing short of an appalling disaster for over 200 years.


gary weinstein 11.01.2014 12:05

Japan has a unique culture in that their nationalism and religion are the same. Thus nationalism is their religion and their religion is Japan inc or Japan Shinto or Japan pride. Unlike other countries where if you criticise their policy or country the criticism is taken (negatively or positively and accepted), however to criticise Japan is not only criticizing their country but their own belief but the core of who they are. So this is Japan's own downfall ultimately. Japan can not come to it own senses due to their double vision.

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