12 Years On: Worst-Case Scenario Eyed after Nuclear Accident


Tokyo, March 3 (Jiji Press)--Recounting what happened in the aftermath of Japan's worst nuclear accident 12 years ago, Koichiro Genba, who was a member of the country's then ruling party, has said that he called for the compilation of "the worst-case scenario" at the time to deal with the nuclear crisis.

Hydrogen explosions occurred at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station after the plant was hit by huge tsunami from a powerful earthquake that struck the Tohoku northeastern region, including Fukushima Prefecture, home to the plant, on March 11, 2011.

Determined to be the last line of defense for the people of Fukushima, Genba, then concurrently serving as national strategy minister and policy head of the then ruling Democratic Party of Japan, instructed Shunsuke Kondo, then chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission, on March 15, 2011, to map out a worst-case scenario, Genba said in an interview.

In response to a "shocking estimate" shown by Kondo that people might no longer be able to live in any part of eastern Japan in the worst case, Genba, a House of Representatives lawmaker elected from the Fukushima No. 3 constituency, considered the possibility of evacuating residents to as far as 50 kilometers from the disaster-hit plant and rushed to provide gasoline to help their evacuation by car.

Genba, now a member of the leading opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, rebutted criticism of then Prime Minister Naoto Kan's visit to the Fukushima No. 1 plant, by helicopter, the day after the quake and tsunami, saying that "it was good" for Kan to go and that "it was very meaningful" for him to directly meet with the late Masao Yoshida, then manager of the plant, during the visit.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press