News / Asia

Former Japan Premier Sues PM for Libel Over Fukushima Comments

Japan's former prime minister Naoto Kan speaks during an interview with Reuters in Tokyo, Feb. 17, 2012.
Japan's former prime minister Naoto Kan speaks during an interview with Reuters in Tokyo, Feb. 17, 2012.
Reuters
Japan's prime minister at the time of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster said on Tuesday he would sue the current premier, Shinzo Abe, for defamation over an article criticizing the emergency operation he supervised during the crisis.

Naoto Kan, now a lawmaker for the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, took the highly unusual step only a few days before an upper house election, on Sunday, in which nuclear power is one of the most hotly debated issues.

Kan has become a vocal opponent of nuclear power in the wake of the disaster, while Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) wants atomic energy to help pull the economy out of stagnation.

About two-thirds of the public opposes nuclear power.

Kan headed the government when an earthquake and tsunami killed nearly 20,000 people and set off the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years when the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant was destroyed, leaking radiation into the sea and air.

In an article from May 20, 2011, still visible on Abe's website, Abe criticized Kan for taking credit for the decision to cool the melting nuclear reactors with seawater. He said Kan had not been aware of the operation at first, then stopped it only to finally restart it after consulting experts.

“The content is based on totally false information. The article has severely damaged my honor,” Kan told a news conference at parliament, adding that he had asked Abe to remove the article several times.

Kan demanded that Abe immediately delete the story, apologize and pay 11 million yen ($110,100) in compensation.

Kan has been credited with playing an important role in stopping the crisis from getting worse by preventing the operator of the crippled plant, Tokyo Electric Power, from abandoning the plant and pulling out its workers.

Cooling the nuclear reactors with seawater was seen as key to preventing the situation at the crippled plant from getting completely out of control.

All of Japan's 50 nuclear reactors were hut down after the disaster.

A decision by the previous government to re-start two of them last year was met with the biggest protests in decades and contributed to the government's defeat in a December election.

Still, opinion polls show strong support for the LDP, buoyed by hopes that Abe's hyper-easy monetary policy, public spending and structural reform will bolster growth and jolt Japan out of years of stagnation.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid