Japan Official Ordered Fake E-Mails According To Investigators – Maybe just the beginning

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KYOTO, Japan — Investigators concluded Thursday that a nuclear plant operator that tried to manipulate public opinion with fake e-mails was acting under instructions from a high-ranking local government official, adding a new twist to a scandal that has hampered Japan’s efforts to restart idled nuclear reactors after the Fukushima disaster.

An independent investigative committee found that the governor of Saga prefecture told the operator, Kyushu Electric Power, to send e-mails supporting the restart of two reactors at the company’s Genkai Nuclear Power Station.

[box_dark] The company has already admitted to ordering employees to pose as regular citizens by sending e-mails during an online town hall-style meeting in June over whether to allow the restart of the reactors. [/box_dark]

Despite the company’s admission, the committee did not accuse the governor, Yasushi Furukawa, of asking officials to send e-mails masquerading as coming from the public, but only of asking it to send e-mails.

Mr. Furukawa has denied requesting any faked e-mails, saying a KyushuElectric vice president misunderstood his remarks during a private meeting earlier in June.

However, by seeming to confirm widespread suspicions here that government is working secretly with industry to advance nuclear power despite growing public opposition.

The scandal over faked e-mails could make it even more difficult for officials to grant permission to restart the reactors.

Many Japanese blame such cozy ties for the national government’s failure to require tougher defenses against tsunamis at Fukushima Daiichi,.

Earthquake risk is one reason the vast majority of Japanese now want to phase out nuclear power altogether, according to opinion polls.

In an effort to appease public anger, Kyushu Electric created the investigative committee, which was headed by Nobuo Gohara, a well known former prosecutor. The committee said it made its findings after teams of lawyers interviewed 127 people, including top company executives.

Source: www.nytimes.com, via Nuclear News | What The Physics?
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