Photo by Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/GettyImages.
The Fukushima nuclear accident of March 2011 was a “Made in Japan” disaster caused by human error and negligence, a Japanese parliamentary commission concluded in a report released Thursday, reports the Financial Times. The preventable disaster was the result of "collusion" among the government, regulators, and the plant's operators, highlights Reuters.
The 641-page report, based on more 900 hours of interviews with 1,167 people, found that the nuclear power plant was already in vulnerable conditions before the earthquake and tsunami hit. The commission suggested that the reactors may have been damaged by the 9.0-magnitude quake, contrary to previous claims by Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) executives that the disaster was the result of the tsunami, Al Jazeera notes.
Tens of thousands of people fled their homes after the cooling systems of the Fukushima nuclear facility failed, leading to meltdowns that spewed massive amounts of radioactivity into the area. Tepco claimed that the giant waves of the tsunami caused the damage, arguing that they were not at fault because it was beyond the scope of normal contingency planning.
In a country so prone to seismic activity, the suggestion that the quake might have damaged one of the reactors speaks to the efficiency of the regulation of the plant.
Although the commission faulted both Tepco executives and government regulators, the greatest criticism is directed at “a culture in Japan that suppresses dissent and outside opinion,” the New York Times writes. The chairman of the commission, Kiyoshi Kurokawa, lay fault with Japanese cultural traditions, criticizing, “our reflexive obedience” and “our reluctance to question authority.”