News / Asia

    Regulator Raps Fukushima Operator Over 'Unreliable' Data

    Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, points to a board showing an overview of countermeasures planned for Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)'s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, during an interview with Reuter
    Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, points to a board showing an overview of countermeasures planned for Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)'s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, during an interview with Reuter
    Reuters
    Tokyo Electric Power Co. [Tepco], the operator of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, is still putting out questionable data on radiation leaks, causing confusion and a heightened sense of crisis, according to Japan's nuclear regulator.

    The stakes have been raised as Japan makes a final pitch for Tokyo to host the 2020 Olympic Games, while a steady stream of bad news from Fukushima, the site of the worst atomic disaster in a quarter of a century, leaves officials frustrated by Tepco's missteps and miscalculations.

    “As I've said before, Tokyo Electric has not been properly disclosing the situation about the contamination and the levels of contamination,” said Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority [NRA]. “This has caused confusion domestically and internationally. Because of that, the Japanese government has a sense of crisis  and I, personally, feel a little angry about it.”

    “I wouldn't go as far as to say Japan's reputation has been made worse, but releasing incorrect information about the radiated water problem has created trouble around the world,” said Tanaka.

    Japan this week pledged nearly half a billion dollars to contain leaks and decontaminate radioactive water stored at Fukushima that threaten the clean-up from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the plant and brought Japan's nuclear power industry to a virtual halt.

    Officials have been keen to assure the world that Tokyo will be safe during the Olympics in seven years, if chosen. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe flies to Buenos Aires later on Thursday from a Group of 20 meeting in St. Petersburg to lead Tokyo's final pitch before the Olympic committee. Madrid and Istanbul are the other contenders.

    “We would like to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games here in Tokyo and welcome athletes, people affiliated with the events and visitors from all over the world,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, adding that food and water in Japan is safe.

    'Not relaible'

    Tepco has been criticized for its failure to prepare for the kind of disaster that struck two and a half years ago, and has been accused of covering up the extent of the problems since.

    The plant has been beset with power outages and other problems that have prompted experts to question whether Tepco can handle what is an unprecedented clean-up due to the amount of radioactive material on the site and its coastal location.

    The company's disclosure of problems at the site and the quality of its data have been a source of constant criticism.

    “I have a certain expert knowledge of Tepco's data and their data is not reliable,” Kayoko Nakamura, one of five NRA commissioners, said at Thursday's briefing.

    After repeated denials, Tepco has admitted that contaminated water has flowed into the Pacific Ocean, and it has discovered leaks from above-ground tanks used to store irradiated water after it has been washed over melted uranium fuel rods to keep them from overheating.

    Earlier this week, Tanaka said concerns about contamination in the Pacific were “misplaced.”

    Tepco said on Thursday there is a possibility that some of the water that leaked from one storage tank has reached groundwater at the site.

    Measurable radiation from water leaking from the facility is mostly confined to the harbor around the plant, and officials also say it is not an environmental threat to other countries as the radiation will be diluted by the sea.

    In addition, Tepco said Thursday that the arm of a crane snapped while removing debris from the building housing the damaged No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima plant. There were no injuries or damage to the building.

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora