Daily Israel Report

Japanese Culture Caused Fukushima Disaster

Japan's parliament releases report on the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, says it was 'man-made,' born of Japan's culture.
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 7/6/2012, 12:16 AM

Fukushima Reactor No. 3 on 21 March 2011
Fukushima Reactor No. 3 on 21 March 2011
Reuters

Japan's parliament on Thursday concluded that the Fukushima Daiichi power plant disaster following a devastating earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011 was a "man-made disaster."

Singling out the plant's operator, regulators and the Japanese government, the parliamentary report laid the plant's failure squarely at the feet of Japanese culture.

"What must be admitted – very painfully – is that this was a disaster 'Made in Japan,'" the report said. "Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture: our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to 'sticking with the program.'"

The crippled plant spewed radiation and displaced tens of thousands of residents from the surrounding area.

No deaths have been attributed to the nuclear accident, the earthquake and tsunami killed more than 15,000 people in northeastern Japan.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of Fukushima Daiichi, admitted last month that it was not fully prepared for the nuclear disaster.

The company's final report on the disaster said it did not have sufficient measures to prevent the accident.

The government panel of investigators said poorly trained operators misread a key backup system and waited too long to start pumping water into overheating reactor units.

They also criticized the Japanese government for failing prepare for the possibility that a tsunami could trigger a nuclear disaster.

The Fukushima Daiichi disaster is the worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl meltdown in Ukraine in 1986.