Commission Deems Fukushima Crisis Man-Made, Preventable

A Japanese parliamentary commission has concluded that the Fukushima disaster was man-made and could have ben prevented; the crisis was"rooted in government-industry collusion and the worst conformist conventions of Japanese culture," the New York Times' Hiroko Tabuchi reports.

The report, released by the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, also warned that the plant may have been damaged by the earthquake on March 11, 2011, even before the arrival of a tsunami — a worrying assertion as the quake-prone country starts to bring its reactor fleet back online.

The commission challenged some of the main story lines that the government and the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant have put forward to explain what went wrong in the early days of the crisis.

Despite assigning widespread blame, the report also avoids calling for censure of specific executives or officials. Some citizens’ groups have demanded that Tepco executives be investigated on charges of criminal negligence — a move Kiyoshi Kurokawa, the commission’s chairman, said Thursday was out of its purview. But criminal prosecution “is a matter for others to pursue,” Mr. Kurokawa said at a news conference after the report’s release.

Kurokawa summed up the situation in the report's introduction: "It was a profoundly man-made disaster that could and should have been foreseen and prevented. And its effects could have been mitigated by a more effective human response." Sobering.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at July 5, 2012, 4:30am