Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Reporter: Mark Willacy
Naoto Kan was Japan’s Prime Minister when the country was hit by tsunami and nuclear meltdown and, a year on, he reflects on the praise and criticism for his handling of the disaster.
NAOTO KAN (voiceover translation): My Industry minister was told by the company it wanted to pull all its workers out of the Fukushima plant. If the workers abandoned the plant, all the reactors and fuel rods in the fuel pools would have melted down, causing many times more fallout than Chernobyl. I called the company president and told him a withdrawal was unthinkable and he answered that he understood. Then later on March 15th, I stormed into the company’s headquarters to tell them my opinion.
YOICHI FUNABASHI, FUKUSHIMA REPORT AUTHOR: On this critical question, I think I would say that was his finest hour and a (inaudible) I think he saved the nation.
YOICHI FUNABASHI: I think they should have shared the information much more earlier and a much more forthcoming way – forthcomingly with the public. It was those elite, the top policy planners and makers who seemed to be more panicked than the public themselves.