Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Prime minister at Fukushima

Prime Minister Naoto Kan visited Fukushima today:

Kan praised the workers of Tokyo Electric Power Co. and its subcontractors in the J-Village lobby and thanked them for their "hard work.""The accident at the Fukushima No. 1 plant needs to be put under control with your collective efforts," Kan said. "We have to work hard until we reach a point where we can say our country has overcome the quake and the tsunami disaster."
Kan made stops at other affected locales, too, and picked up some criticism from people who have been displaced:
"I wonder how well he could grasp the situation faced by victims," fisherman Kazuo Sato, 45, said. "There are shelters still without electricity or water. Some people haven't even been able to begin searching for bodies. I want (Kan) to turn attention to those matters."
No comment here, except that it's good and expected that people want to resume their lives and get the earthquake as far behind them as they can.
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And Kan is starting to work on how to proceed with nuclear energy on the government level. 
Prime Minister Naoto Kan is looking into the feasibility of separating the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, according to government sources.
And why would that help?
The agency, established as a special entity of the METI-affiliated Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, is responsible for ensuring the safety of nuclear plants. The Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan, institutionalized under the Cabinet Office, is designed to double-check the agency's steps.
In reality, though, the commission merely echoes what the agency decides, according to government officials.
The article doesn't say whether Kan wants to provide it the relative freedom from political interference that the NRC has in this country, but comments from regional governments and the opposition parties support that outcome.
Mizuho Fukushima, head of the Social Democratic Party, said in a news conference that she met with Kan and stressed to him her party's long-standing position that the agency must be severed from the ministry.
Obviously, a developing story. We'll keep an eye on this one.

Japan Prime Minister Naoto Kan

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