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Apr 29, 2013

“Do you intend to protect people” Niigata Prefectural Governor Criticized Nuclear Regulation Authority [ Everybody wants to be happy ]


There are quite a lot of sincere heads of municipal governments like Niigata Prefectural Governor Izumida.  We have to be careful not to misjudge who is our friend and who is our enemy.

Masatoshi Takeshita
April 23, 2013

English translation of an excerpt from a Japanese article: “Everybody wants to be happy” – April 23, 2013 –

“Do you intend to protect people” Niigata Prefectural Governor Criticized Nuclear Regulation Authority


Niigata Prefectural Governor Izumida: Do you intend to secure the safety of nuclear power plants and safety of the people?

Nuclear Regulation Agency Secretary Ikeda: Yes, it’s a matter of course.  It’s our duty and it’s a matter of course.

Izumida: Do you intend to come face-to- face with the area where nuclear power stations are located?

Ikeda:  Of course.

Izumida:  Do you?

Ikeda: Yes.

Izumida:  Why hasn’t NRA Chairman Takana come to see me today?


Ikeda: We are going to fully inform him of what is talked in the meeting.  Well, ….

Izumida:  Why are you going to use indirect speech?

Ikeda:  No, well ….  There are many visitors from many groups.  Well…

Izumida: Do you think that Niigata is one of such groups?  We hold jurisdiction over local administration.

Ikeda:  You hold jurisdiction over administration, but you’re the same.

Izumida:  We shares responsibility for nuclear safety administration, don’t we?

Ikeda:  Well, anyway.


Izumida: Isn’t Nuclear Regulation Authority the body which is responsible for evacuation?

Ikeda:  Well, do you want to say that we have to obtain permission from the residents?

Izuimda: Exactly. So, why can you do that without listening to on-site voicest?  Without doing it, you say it is perfect safety standard.
Niigata prefecture has experienced at least a fire accident and complex disaster at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power station when the Chuetsu-oki Earthquake occurred.
What happened?
I wonder why you can judge without asking what actually happened on the scene.
What did we find it difficult to cope with?
For example, in the case of complex disaster, it is likely that power-supply car will not reach the scene.
What are you going to do?
No investigation of Fukushima nuclear power plant accident has been made.
You never listen to the administrative body.
You never listen to on-site voices, either.
What makes you think that such safety standard is helpful?

Why can you explain this in just 15 minutes?  First you said “Up to 15 minutes.”


Press Section Chief Akira Sato: As for 15 minutes, I hear that Niigata prefectural government said 15 minutes was enough!

Izumida:  I want you to stop such excuse.
Can you say to the people, “you can trust in nuclear safety administration”?

Reporter:  Governor, from the beginning, you seemed to get very angry.

Izumida:  It’s quite natural.  We have been studying the safety standard since March.  We informed the NRA of what experts had studied in the prefectural technical committee.  Although I asked him to see me to talk about “more secure environment,” Chairman Tanaka won’t meet me.
Furthermore, at a press conference Chairman Tanaka says *”Why do I have to answer the question of Niigata prefectural governor?  I have no obligation.”
I can’t help but feel that it is doubtful whether “the NRA feels responsible for securing the people’s safety.”

Reporter:  What are you going to request the NRA to do anew?

Izumida:  To secure safety.
It is most important to investigate why the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident occurred and study how to cope with it.  Additionally, what matters most is to provide information with transparency.
They never provide any information.  They get things going self-righteously without listening to us.
They try to say “we have developed a guideline and that’s the end of the story.”
I think it is difficult for them to win the confidence of the people.

Reporter:  How about the reoperation of the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power station?

Izumida:  Therefore, I ask a question: “should we investigate the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident first?”
From their response, I think those involved have not given an answer.
I think it should be done first.

Reporter:  No matter how long will it take?

Izumida:  Therefore, it has nothing to do with time.

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