Japan's foreign minister criticized his subordinates Saturday after they
failed to notify him for nearly a full day about a potential
radioactive leak aboard a nuclear powered U.S. Navy submarine.
Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura says he learned about the leak from television news reports.
defense officials revealed Friday that a leak was found on the
nuclear-powered submarine Houston after it recently cruised through the
Pacific. During the trip, the Houston
made stops in Japan, Guam and
Komura says ministry officials did not inform him when
they received word from the Pentagon because the leak posed no great
risk. But he says his subordinates should have told him sooner so he
could have made an announcement.
The delay may be an
embarrassment to the government of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, coming
on the same day he had made changes to his government because of
declining public support.
Officials say the amount of
radioactivity or radioactive water that could have leaked through a
faulty valve would almost be too small to detect.
between the Japanese public and the U.S. military have been strained in
recent months by incidents of misbehavior involving U.S. servicemen.
than 10,000 people demonstrated last month against a U.S. plan to base
a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in the city of Yokosuka.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.