Japan sorry for not using US radiation map
19 June 2012, 16:18
Tokyo - A Japanese minister apologised on Tuesday
for the nation's failure to make use of a United States-made map showing
how radiation was spreading from crippled reactors in the days after
the Fukushima crisis.
Tokyo admitted that confusion among
government departments meant the map was never used and evacuees were
not directed away from areas where radiation from the leaking nuclear
plant was spiking.
"It is extremely regrettable that [the
information] was not used by the government," Industry Minister Yukio
Edano told reporters on Tuesday.
"I apologise to the people who were affected," he said, according to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.
military aircraft collected radiation data in areas around the
Fukushima Daiichi plant, which was hit by the earthquake and tsunami of
11 March 2011, sending three reactors into meltdown.
was conducted from 17 to 19 March for the US Department of Energy. It
showed that radioactive fallout was concentrated in areas northwest of
No radiation deaths
It was passed to the
Japanese government, which did not have full knowledge of what was
happening with the plant and had failed to inform people living in the
area which direction they should head to avoid the fallout.
map was shared with the Japanese foreign ministry, which forwarded it to
the nuclear and industrial safety agency and the science ministry,
local media said.
But it was never sent to the prime minister's office, which did not advise people to avoid the high risk areas shown on the map.
no one is officially recorded as having died as a direct result of the
radiation, it forced tens of thousands of people from their homes, with
many still unable to return.
Scientists say contamination has made some areas around the plant unfit for farming and fishing for many decades to come.
which at the weekend decided to restart two idled nuclear reactors
after the last of its 50 working reactors was shut down in early May,
will spend the next four decades demolishing the wrecked Fukushima
The major earthquake and tsunami left around 19 000 people dead or missing along Japan's northern Pacific coast.