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Saturday, 23 August 2014

Yoshida testimony on Fukushima nuclear accident may be disclosed after all

August 23, 2014

In an about-turn, the government is weighing full disclosure of testimony about the 2011 nuclear accident given by the late manager of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The government initially insisted that it would not make public the investigative record of Masao Yoshida, who was plant chief at the time of the disaster, citing “Yoshida’s written request submitted asks the state not to disclose them.”

However, the government has been forced to re-evaluate its position, as some news outlets have reported on parts of the records written by the government investigation panel.

“The contents (of the testimonies) are in effect circulating in the world,” a senior official at the prime minister's office said Aug. 22 in response to the reports by the media. “(That has created) the atmosphere that we, as Japan’s government, have no choice but to disclose them.”

The Asahi Shimbun reported on contents of the testimonies that the newspaper obtained through its sources in the morning edition of May 20 and on its website. Although the government at that time refused to disclose them, it was compelled to alter its stance after The Sankei Shimbun began covering the testimonies in its Aug. 18 morning edition.

The government said it will consult with Yoshida’s bereaved family with regard to the disclosure of more than 400 pages of testimony, which contain 28 hour-long interviews in Q&A format.

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