March 16, 2011
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo has demanded that the government mobilize nuclear experts as a neutral third party in order to cope with the nuclear plant crisis in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Disaster.
Visiting the prime minister’s office on March 15, Shii urgently made representations to Prime Minister Kan Naoto that the government fully utilize the capacities of the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) of Japan, an independent body from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), in dealing with the crisis situation at the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).
Shii said, “We should bring together all the wisdom of nuclear experts and professionals so as to most accurately assess what is going on, properly evaluate the danger, and take appropriate safety measures.”
Shii criticized the government response to the ongoing nuclear crisis for leaving every important handling of the crisis to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) of the METI which is a nuclear power generation promoting administrative organization.
Shii presented the fact that the NSC had played a leading role in the 1999 nuclear criticality accident at a JCO plant in Tokai Village in Ibaraki Prefecture, and that the Convention on Nuclear Safety requires a “separation between the functions of the regulatory body and those of any other body or organization concerned with the promotion or utilization of nuclear energy.”
In order to prepare for countermeasures against radioactivity and organize evacuation if needed, Shii also suggested that the government strengthen its cooperation with the Japan Meteorological Agency and the National Institute of Radiological Sciences, an institute with extensive scientific knowledge in radiology.
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujii Hirohisa said to Shii, “I will take your proposal seriously and definitely convey it to the prime minister.”