Fall Of Empire: Japan’s Shared Affliction

A bird’s eye view of Shinjuku’s business center. Photo credit Stack Jones.

Greed and ineptness at the corporate level is not unique to Japan. One doesn’t have to look beyond repugnant western corporations such as Exxon, BP, Monsanto, Worldcom, Enron, Union Carbide, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, or the U.S. corporate war profiteers, their financiers, and the world-wide banking swindle to understand that basic premise. However, what is unique to Japan is the culture of reverence and blind allegiance that makes the covering up of fraud, corruption, embezzlement, irresponsible administration, reckless endangerment, and creative accounting much easier, and sadly, in so many cases, somehow rationalized and acceptable as, “business as unusual” in the Japanese corporate dogs and demons milieu. Below are a few recent examples of the commercial incompetence that has caused many of Japan’s corporate colossi to sink still further beneath the fateful waves of the March 11th tsunami, earthquake and nuclear nightmare.

Olympus’ former president, Tsuyoshi Kikukawa was arrested last February for falsifying records for decades, while at the same time, transferring billions of corporate assets to offshore accounts in the Caymen Islands. In June, AIJ Investment president Kazuhiko Asakawa was arrested for embezzling 1.4B of nearly 880,000 pension funds entrusted to him by the world’s second hardest working populace. In April, Sony continued to report massive losses, and still doesn’t seem to grasp that after years of mastering obsolescence (the built-in failure of their overpriced gadgets), and deplorable customer relations, the “consumer” has taken to purchase competitor goods that are usually less expensive and often of a higher quality. In that, Sony shares have nose-dived to a thirty-one year low. Panasonic records 5.49B in fourth quarter losses, while Fujitsu, and Toshiba, the manufacturer of nuclear power plants both post huge losses as the anti-nuclear protests in Japan grow stronger, more vociferous, and exceedingly more powerful as the weeks roll on.

It looks like Japan can no longer walk with false pride, nor stand in a false light, claiming superiority in the manufacturing of goods, or component parts for their western counterparts, in comparison to China, a country that overtook Japan as the second largest global economy. China is a nation that has massive human resources, few labor laws, no respect for human rights, and seemingly endless supplies or raw goods to produce those products. These conditions, as detestable as they are, are spot-on for those that desire an advantageous upper hand.

Japan on the other hand has an aging population, a declining economy, a growing recession, a massive amount of vacant and dilapidating structures that no longer provide any semblance of utility. Japan also has a very serious problem where young adults are not getting married, and the countries women are not having children. It is well documented that Japan’s population will decrease by 40% within the few decades. A large part of the deterioration of the Japanese social structure is due to the over-bearing and miserly business owners that demand, and expect the Japanese populace to work long hours, and prove their (although abject) loyalty. As a result the countries culture, and the Japanese way isn’t just in decline, it’s in peril.

Japan has long maligned China for the manufacturing of inferior products, and produce yet every store shelf in the country today, are filled with products that display labels, written in English that proclaim, “Made In China.” Where the Japanese once balked at purchasing foreign made goods, now, just like every where else in the world, Chinese made products cannot be avoided. Thus, the current trend is that the Japanese are playing a willing role in the march toward their own demise.

In all that, let the truth be known! The cheap (not so good) goods that are manufactured in China are not inferior because of the Chinese laborer, or the myth that the Chinese work force is unskilled. The harsh fact is that the western corporations design the manufacturing standards. One doesn’t have to look beyond Apple Computers, “Designed in California, and Made In China” marketing ploy to understand this basic premise. In other words, don’t blame the Chinese laborer for the seemingly endless supply of junk that finds its way on the shelves of Seiyu (owned by Wal-Mart), Toys ‘R’ Us, or any other corporate conglomerate that scars the landscape of nearly every “civilized” nations generic strip mall. Blame the manufacturers who set the fabrication quality, or lack thereof. Don’t blame the over-worked, near slave laborer who lives in miserable conditions, has no human rights, no workers compensation laws to protect them from abuse, and who have no say whatsoever about the products they are forced to produce in substandard conditions, usually seven days a week, for upwards of 20 hours a day. Upton Sinclair is surely rolling.

Yes, Japan has been hit hard by globalization, a concept the country had initially embraced, and it has been hit even harder by the cheap and exploited labor that is plentiful in Thailand, India, Indonesia, South America, and China, but the fact still remains that the majority of the damage to the nation, and its economy has come from within. It is the corporate mentality and the false allegiance to them that is causing Japan’s continuous demise.

Is the current trend just the tip of the iceberg? Is the long downward spiral from the top of Tojinbo finally about to result in hitting the azure waters below? Is the fall of Japan’s infrastructure imminent? If Japan continues to delay the passage of new meaningful insider trading legislation, where 70% of the nations shares are held by foreign investors, who are subjected to trading laws in their own country that forbid such conduct, unfortunately the answer has to be yes. One can only wonder how many more large corporate entities will be dragged through the mire after they have been pried open and their massive mismanagement, reckless neglect, and incompetence in corporate duties are revealed. Japan legislatures need to pass meaningful laws that regulate corporate sales, and make the offerings more transparent. Japan needs to understand that the Nikkei is not the only investment game in Asia, as many foreign investors are now pulling their assets out of Japan and looking toward Shenzhen and Shanghai.

Greed in the Japanese corporate environment has sunk to al all time low with the Japanese government handing Tepco, 1,000,000,000 ¥ (12.7B) of taxpayer money as a gift to keep the worlds largest privately held energy giant afloat. Yukio Edano, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, also approved an additional increase of 8.6 % in rates increases that will only benefit Tepco shareholders. Edano apologized to the already overburdened Japanese taxpayer who had already seen their pensions, money they had paid for their retirement their entire lives, collectively appropriated by employees that had been working within the corrupt restraints of government.

Hey, what’s another trillion yen when trillions had already vanished into thin air, while nobody in the benign nation took action or responsibility? Yes, it’s been about six years since all of the pension money was stolen, and it’s already as forgotten as the infamous Unit 731 (which of course, never occurred). The pension funds have never been found. Nobody has ever been prosecuted, and nobody is looking for it either. Sounds conspiratorial, like the 2.3 trillion USD missing from the Pentagon, and announced merely one day before the 911 “terrorist attack.”

Add to Japan’s woes the unpopular double rate tax increase that Noda is so dead set on passing that his own party has crumbled like the poorly engineered, and aesthetically unpleasing seawalls that encompass the entire island. How long before one of those apron protesters that march in the streets, beating frying pans and shouting anti-government slogans criticizing the tax hike takes to beating Noda himself over the head with one of them? Clearly, such a large increase in taxes will only cause people to drive their cars years longer, consume less products, and do a lot of less shopping, which of course would net the opposite effect the tax is supposed to alleviate, as Japan’s debt continues to balloon like the false bubble of the eighties.

Fukushima’s No Go Zone. Photo credit Stack Jones.

Tepco’s Homepage Message:

Thank you for using our services. (As if one has a choice in deciding which utility company they use.)

Our request for electricity rate raise (8.46%) for low voltage power customers (homes, stores and offices) has been approved by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The rate increase will be effective on September 1, 2012. We deeply apologize to our customers for the heavy burden. (Can you feel the sincerity in all that?)

We sincerely apologize to the people of Fukushima and broader society for the tremendous inconvenience and anxiety caused by the accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

Furthermore, we aim to rebuild Tepco’s badly fractured trust and restore our reputation through management reforms while making every effort to transform into a company that is customer-oriented, transparent, and whose management is able to stand side-by-side with its frontline workers. As we move forward to achieve our goals, we ask for your support and understanding. Signed by Chairman Kazuhiko Shimokobe, and President Naomi Hirose.

While it may appear to some that Japan has fallen asleep, and has become inattentive, there is a crusade that is taking place all across the country. The movement is receiving very little coverage in the west, and is also being played down in the Japanese media. But, this movement cannot be ignored forever. There are tens of thousands who are protesting on a weekly basis, and as the numbers continue to grow each week, the Japanese media and police intentionally understate protest attendance. Government sources will claim that a mere 10,000 attend the protests, while in fact the most recent events are more accurately estimated at 170,000. After virtually being ignored for the past year and a half, Noda (who has stated the protesters are merely noisy and having little affect) has finally agreed to meet with the organizers. Strangely, Noda’s tattered camp is now calling for a reduction, or eventual complete elimination in the use of nuclear energy. This is much too little, far too late, for the former resident/evacuees, and current Fukushima residents that remain in hot zones under virtual house arrest, as they are continually told not to worry because there is no imminent danger awaiting them. There has also been no imminent payment of compensation from Tepco, which is drooling over the profit margin they have projected to return by 2014.

Woe unto you Japan! Your senseis of spin have caused the much-maligned Murdoch’s (sly) Fox Network, and the followers of Edward Bernays to bow to your mastery. Atoms for peace! Clean, efficient and cheap!

Why Tepco Executives And The Government Officials That Colluded With Them Must Be Held Criminally Culpable

1.   Long Overdue Criminal Proceedings And Investigation Arrives At The Fukushima Prosecutors Office

 More than 1,300 residents of Fukushima have filed a criminal complaint against thirty-three Tepco executives along with the Japanese government officials who were connected with the nuclear nightmare that took place at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power.

The complaint was filed on June 11th, 2012 by 1,324 outraged citizens at the Fukushima prosecutors’ office. The bill of indictment formally accuses members of Tepco and the government’s Nuclear Safety Commission of professional negligence resulting in death or injury.

The commission is accused of gross negligence in failing to live up to its legal requirement to take adequate safety precautions at the Fukushima plant when the scale of the disaster had already been known to officials, yet they took no action to warn the public of the imminent, and life threatening danger they faced. The complaint lays out a strong case against those responsible for failing to ensure the plant’s safety, and as a result of their gross acts led to the meltdown and resulting damages of thousands. Furthermore, the indictment claims the delay in releasing information about the scale of the radiation leakage exposed residents to deadly radioactive materials, that caused injury, and intentional emotional distress, and in some cases was the proximate cause of several unreported suicides.

Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer representing the group said, “Today we have taken the first step toward making that investigation happen.” One of the main reasons for filing the criminal complaint was due to the lack of individual accountability arising from the actions of the government’s own accident investigation committee. Those named in the complaint include Tepco Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, former Tepco president Masataka Shimizu, and Nuclear Safety Commission chief Haruki Madarame.

The Nuclear Safety Commission has been strongly rebuked, and criticized for withholding relevant information provided by the special computerized System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI). Critics contend that releasing SPEEDI data regarding the radiation fallout would have prevented confusion over evacuation procedures, and the expansion of the no-go zone.

2.    Japan’s Newest Anti-Yakuza Laws Allow Immediate Incarceration

 On July 30th, 2012, Japan’s national Diet approved the revisions of the Organized Crime Group Countermeasures Law. The new law allows police to designate organized crime groups as extremely dangerous, and arrest any member of that group, without issuing a cease and desist order, if they make unreasonable or illegal demands towards ordinary citizens. The new law allows the Prefectural Centers for The Elimination of Organized Crime to initiate legal procedures to forbid the use of organized crime offices.

The Japan Times, and the Asahi Shimbun recently reported that the new Anti-yakuza laws are taking their toll on gangs. According to yakuza-watcher Atsushi Mizoguchi the crackdown should pressure yakuza to leave their gangs, however, older members have no real skills, so many will cling to the old ways. For younger gang members, the future is decidedly bleak. “Simply by virtue of their gang affiliation they can’t legally rent an apartment or open a bank account,” “I’ve heard that young gang members forced out of Kansai, who come to Tokyo looking for work, can’t rent a room, and are living in their cars. They’re just one step from becoming homeless.”

So, the new Anti-gang laws are hurting the little guy, yet the fact is, Tepco, and their nuclear cleanup subcontractors are benefiting from relationships with known yakuza and their affiliates. It has been widely reported that Tepco has been openly contracting with gang affiliations, and these yakuza are using forced labor to work off debts owed to them. Why is Tepco allowing this? Why is the government in charge of oversight allowing this to go on? Why do the new laws apply to the little guys, but have no affect on the corporate giants like Tepco, and their subcontractors with known organized crime affiliations? Is this the new face of Tepco that we have been told to expect? Is this a part of the new trust they so desperately seek to regain from a public that loathes the name? Is this the kind of “management reforms” that is customer-oriented, transparent, and whose management will stand side-by-side with its frontline workers? Why aren’t the police knocking down doors, and arresting these known criminals, and the executives at Tepco that are willfully in cahoots with them? This “new law” has as much teeth as an office worker choosing when to take a few days leave.

 3.    Tepco’s Knowledge Of Criminal Activities Taking Place Within Namie

Build-Up, a subcontractor hired by Tepco to perform radiation decontamination inside the highly contaminated Fukushima No. 1 reactor, admitted its executive, Teruo Sagara told several employees to cover their radiation detection devices with lead shields to falsify exposure levels. Sagara personally attempted to give the lead shields to the employees. When some of the employees refused to do so, Sagara chastised them saying, “You can no longer make a living when the dose runs out.” Several continued to refuse the order, while others raised questions about their safety, and the legality of the practice. But Sagara warned them that they would lose their jobs, and any other employment opportunity at other nuclear plant if they failed to comply. An argument broke out, and the rhetoric became threatening. “Perhaps you are not cut out for working at nuclear plants,” he said. “Go back to your hometown and do some other job.” Three of the workers resigned immediately, while at least nine agreed to wear the shields.

The information became public knowledge when the meeting was secretly recorded, and turned over to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. Sagara said using the covers was his idea, and they were not used on any other day. This contradicts other reports that a Build-Up executive had told workers last spring to use lead-encased dosimeters, and that the workers refused to do it. As a result, the workers were not allowed to work at the site, because Sagara said they refused to obey his orders.

Official logs list one of the workers who agreed to wear the lead shield among those exposed to the highest dose of radiation out of all five thousand cleanup operatives at the plant. His actual exposure is likely to have been exponentially higher. This is fraud, this is falsifying business records and this is life endangering, and these are crimes, and Tepco had full knowledge these incidents were taking place, and took no action.

Tepco said they were aware of the existence of the lead shields, but claim they believe they were never used. Tepco also claims that this was a one-time incident. Tepco also never reported the illegal activity to authorities, and never took any action against the subcontractor. Despite Tepco’s claim that this was a one-time event, and evidence to the contrary, it has long been believed that workers have been, and continue to be forced to subject themselves to dangerously high levels of radiation exposure. Labor officials said an investigation had begun over the incident. This investigation marks the first time the government has looked into the case, believed to be part of a widespread practice at the plant.

Takashi Wada, the president of Build-Up, acknowledged the dosimeter falsification had taken place. “We should have never done that,” Wada told an interview with TBS. Sadly this is all too often part of Japan’s business greed culture and how the health, safety, and welfare of employees matters little when filthy lucre is involved.

The issue reflects a growing concern among the government about how to secure a continuous flow of workers to clean up the plant. Officials say it will take approximately forty years to decommission the plant’s four damaged reactors. If it takes 1,000,000,000 ¥ to keep Tepco afloat in this early stage, how many more trillions of yen will the angry taxpayer be expected to delve out over that forty year period? It looks like this accident, that nobody is responsible for except Tepco, is turning into a nice cash cow for the miscreant, clapperdudgeon energy troll.

In an unrelated story, as recently as August of 2012, eight employees at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant have worked without wearing dosimeters since June of 2011. Twenty claim they lost their dosimeters, as if that is some kind of excuse for Tepco to ignore governmental regulations. Yet again! The repulsively sickening energy giant apologized, as it had so many times in the past for sloppy enforcement of radiation damage control to its workers, and for its failure once again to take appropriate measures to prevent a recurrence of such incidents. The plant operator also acknowledged its slow response in reporting the “oversights” to  appropriate authorities.

Shinkuku. Photo credit Stack Jones.

 4.    No Reported Deaths As A Result Of Tepco’s Recklessness

Mikio Watanabe’s Fukushima home is contaminated with radiation. It is also filled with the nightmares of his wife’s horrific suicide. “I can still see it,” says the 62-year old, the tears welling in his eyes. What replays again and again in his mind is his wife of thirty-nine years, dousing herself in kerosene, and setting herself on fire, after slipping into an overwhelming depression. “If there was no nuclear accident, we wouldn’t have gone through this terrible thing,” he says. “This is Tepco’s fault.”

Watanabe wants Tepco to compensate, and treat victims for the disaster that Tepco caused, which would show that the company really does care for the evacuees. Watanabe says Tepco is moving too slowly to restore the lives of impacted residents. That lack of speed, he says, is leading to suicides.

Although not covered by the media, there has been a large increase in suicides in Fukushima since the meltdown. Reasons vary from the loss of livelihoods, to the long-term mental health impacts.

Immediately after the disaster struck, a cabbage farmer in Fukushima prefecture took his life after an overwhelming feeling of loss. Cabbage was the first crop slated as radiated, poisonous, and therefore banned from the market. Speaking to reporters, the man’s daughter said: “We have no idea how long this situation will continue. What will become of us? I think everyone involved in agriculture is worried. I pray there will be no more victims like my father.” Unfortunately, the recent suicide reports put Japan, once again above the 30,000 annual suicide mark, fourteen years on.

After shipment of raw milk was halted in Fukushima, a dairy farmer in Soma, having already culled his herd of cows, chose what he saw as the only option left. “If only there wasn’t a nuclear power plant” he wrote in chalk on his cattle shed. His final words included, “I have lost the energy to carry on working.” The man’s death, a direct result of the overwhelmed feeling many in the region share, could be part of a trend likely to grow in the coming months.

Japan’s suicide rate, already one of the highest in the developed world, saw a two-year high in May of 2011, the country’s National Police Agency report. Among the figures, Fukushima saw sixty-eight suicides, nineteen more than in May 2010. Overall, the report shows suicides in May 2011 totaled 3,281, an increase of almost twenty percent from the same month a year earlier.

A newly published Stanford University study says that as many as 1,300 people could die as a result of exposure to radiation from the disaster at Fukushima. This report does not include deaths related to suicide and the nuclear nightmare of Namie.

MSNBC reporting. First, MSNBC’s parent company General Electric constructed the poorly designed Namie plant, and designed the Mark I reactors that melted down. Dale Bridenbaugh, one of the company’s chief engineers resigned during the construction stage over concerns regarding the safety of the reactors. Bridenbaugh said the Mark 1 reactors hadn’t been designed to withstand loads experienced in a large-scale accident.

General Electric, which claims to “bring good things to life” owns MSNBC, NBC Universal, NBC Entertainment, NBC News, A&E Television, Bravo, The History Channel, Lifetime, The Weather Channel, Comcast, The Sci-Fi Channel, USA Network, Telemundo, and Universal Studios.

Having experienced the 3.11.11 triple disaster of Japan firsthand, I naturally took an interest in the reporting of Miranda Leitsinger, the senior writer and editor of MSNBC.com, and Jim Seida the multimedia producer, who came to Japan to report, while simultaneously operating a blog on the subject matter. I was hoping for some valuable insight into the plight of the nation, and its people who were left homeless, and in economic, and ecological ruin, more so by the radiation than the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that followed. No such luck!

The reporting was completely amateurish, substandard, and their conduct while in Japan entirely unprofessional. Their presence came across more like a wayward teenager on an overseas homestay jaunt. They crashed a rented vehicle and imposed themselves by staying in shelters that didn’t even have enough rooms for the victims. I personally know one Japanese man who drove to Iwate to bring his surviving uncle back to Ibaraki to stay. Even this man, a relative who spent days doing clean up duties was told that he couldn’t stay at a shelter. He slept in his van, and did not shower the entire time he was in Iwate, yet Leitsinger, and Seida, slept on beds that were provided for victims, and took showers, and ate food, and sipped tea that wasn’t intended for them.

There wasn’t anything that came out of that non-dynamic duo that was remotely cerebral, or courageous. Nor did the blather that they spewed resemble anything that could qualify as professional journalism. Why should I be surprised? Isn’t that what we’ve come to expect from the mainstream media, and their empty brands? And to think, I thought O’Reilly had cornered the market on buffoonery?

Leitsinger report titled, Japan: After the Wave, gave no new information, but instead relied on numerous stories that had already been regurgitated ad nauseam. While the Pee Wee’s were on their big adventure, they completely ignored the fact that one-third of Japan became a toxic nuclear dump, with thousands of people displaced, homeless, landless, jobless and the community they had long lived in, reduced to ghost towns, and would remain evacuated, in some cases for all of eternity. That, along with the fact Japan’s Pacific shoreline has been completely destroyed by massive amounts of highly toxic, life-threatening, dangerous radiation; radiation that will remain in the ocean, and coastal communities of central Japan for thousands, perhaps millions, even billions of years. Somehow, they seemed to miss these facts as they passed through Fukushima on their journey to Iwate, because the only time Leitsinger mentioned Fukushima during her one month long stay was to say that there was no deaths as a direct result of the disaster in Fukushima.

Despite what Leitsinger (erroneously) believes to be factual, Tepco should be held criminally accountable for all of the deaths due to the company’s reckless conduct.

View from a Shinjuku tower. Photo credit Stack Jones.

5.    Tepco’s Losses Shift To An Overburdened Public

Tepco posted a massive 781 billion yen net loss in the fiscal year to March 2012, after which it had to increase imports of fossil fuels to make up for a nuclear power shortfall when Japan ordered all nuclear plants off line. Only two of Japan’s numerous reactors have since been restarted.

Tepco president Naomi Hirose said the company had been granted a ”last chance” to transform itself into a ”new Tepco” and it would take ”utmost efforts” to compensate those affected by the disaster. Yet, after nearly one and a half years, almost no one has received any compensation, and Tepco is already up to their usual bag of tricks of deceptive practices.

In a statement to CNN, a Tepco representative said it would not comment on lawsuits filed against the company. Yet, Tepco would later claim that a mere twenty lawsuits have been filed against it. Part of the shortage of lawsuits against Tepco is because the Japan government, in its protectionism of, and favoritism attitude toward corporations over the individual, doesn’t allow for class action filings. This means that those who have been the most economically harmed by Tepco’s reckless behavior, and even poorer mismanagement, may never receive any compensation.

6.    Raise The Red Rates

In mid-July, the government allowed Tepco to raise household electricity rates in its service area, including Tokyo, by a whopping average of 8.46 percent. The people of Japan are supposed to be pleased with this great indignity, as the clapperdudgeon had initially demanded a 10.28 percent increase.

Tepco president Hirose claims that Tepco would make further cost-cutting efforts to realize its target of logging a net profit by March 2014. This comment should terrify anyone living 1000 kilometers within a Tepco owned and operated nuclear plant. Why? While this all sounds terrific for a handful of greedy corporate criminals that have destroyed the Japanese people’s trust in their government, as well as (according to former prime minister Kan), one-third of Japan’s land, if you take a deeper look at the comments of Hirose, one would immediately ascertain that they company is committed to cutting costs in management, maintenance, and operating costs, not the salaries of the executives as the Japanese government has demanded. This means the nation can expect the continuance of cover-ups, the continuance of mismanagement, and the continuance of shoddy maintenance just like the kind that took place before the accident, so the rogue organization can realize profits by 2014. This is exactly what caused plutonium, neutron rays, and other forms of man-made carcinogens to spew from exploding reactors and blanket Japan, and other nations in a coating of radiation dust; an unseen sheen that will last for thousands of years to come.

Cutting operational costs is exactly what caused this awfully tightfisted, and foolish syndicate to be placed in the situation that it currently finds itself in. Cutting nuclear operational costs is not the way to appease an already nervous nation, a nation that vehemently opposed the Pacific nuclear weapons testing with an estimated thirty-five million signatures that called for a ban on anything atomic.

Heeding the people, dismantling the aging plants, and maintaining the company in compliance with tough regulations that can’t be circumvented, is the only choice for a nation that cannot afford yet another nuclear accident. If Tepco wants public money, then the public should outright own the corporation entirely, with an oversight committee, that is not in bed with the toothless regulatory bodies That, and because the history of Tepco proves it cannot be trusted to comply with such regulations.

7.    Is There A Doctor In The House?

A doctor, known to me as Ebihara, shared a disturbing account recognized in Fukushima long before the man-made aspect of the triple disaster that took place on 3.11.11. Ebihara had been a surgeon at a Haranoumachi hospital, and described in detail an incident that took place at the Namie nuclear plant three year earlier. Haranoumachi is a coastal community that remains evacuated due to high levels of radiation. The story goes like this…

A JAEA nuclear agency inspector was performing standard inspection duties when he discovered a crack in one of the unit cores at the Namie nuclear power plant. He ordered the reactor offline until Tepco repaired the damage. Apparently, it was estimated that that the repair cost would exceed two million USD, and cut into Tepco’s quarterly profits. Tepco’s site manager refused to comply with the order. Tepco contacted the engineers’ superior, bitterly protesting the order. The engineer refused to back down, and the JAEA ended up siding with Tepco’s management. The engineer was terminated immediately, and as a result, he was blackballed from ever again obtaining employment within the nuclear industry.

Fukushima mayor Sato stepped in and ordered the plant to shut down, thereby causing a power struggle between the Namie, and Fukushima mayors. (Namie is a small town within the Fukushima prefecture). At that time the Fukushima DA’s office stepped in and began to investigate mayor Sato, and his brother for criminal conduct. The investigation subsequently led to Sato’s resignation, and criminal incarceration.

The crack in the Tepco reactor was probably never repaired. If this story is true, and it did come from a credible source within the community, then this means that Tepco had knowledge of a dangerous crack that existed in one of their reactor cores, allowed it to remain online, and took no action to repair it. If, in fact that it was never repaired, then on the day of the disaster, that reactor was a time bomb waiting to explode. And perhaps did! This matter needs to be investigated fully.

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