Japan’s government admitted Tuesday that its safeguards were insufficient to protect a nuclear plant against the earthquake and tsunami that crippled the facility and caused it to spew radiation, and it vowed to overhaul safety standards.
The struggle to contain radiation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex has unfolded with near-constant missteps — the latest including two workers drenched with radioactive water despite wearing supposedly waterproof suits.
The March 11 tsunami that slammed into Japan’s northeast, wiping out towns and killing thousands of people, knocked out power and backup systems at the coastal nuclear power plant.
More than 11,000 bodies have been recovered, but officials say the final death toll is expected to exceed 18,000. Hundreds of thousands of people remain homeless, their homes and livelihoods destroyed. Damage could amount to $310 billion — the most expensive natural disaster on record.
Read the rest of the story: Japan: Not enough safeguards to protect nuke plants.
Although there may have been politics representing the interests of individual groups and particular regions, there was a lack of the kind of major political leadership which considers the future of the country as a whole and pushes ahead with reforms. Leadership of this kind is not born of individual politicians or political parties alone. Whether I am able to demonstrate such leadership depends on whether I indicate a clear vision for Japan to my fellow citizens and whether they place their trust in me and give me the go-ahead to carry out this vision.
Read all of Kan’s speech at the Japan Times.
Japan’s transport authorities are planning to tighten rules related to vehicle recalls, responding to criticism that insufficient government oversight in the nation’s recall process may have contributed to delays in the handling of safety problems at Toyota Motor Corp.
Transport minister Seiji Maehara said Tuesday the government will review several aspects of the recall system with an eye toward strengthening its authority and capability in gathering information on vehicle problems and enforcing remedial action when necessary.
“I tend to think there is a great possibility that Toyota didn’t share information with the government properly,” Mr. Maehara said at a press conference. “I think it’s extremely important to strengthen our information-gathering system so the [transport] ministry and the consumers are given full explanations even when the problems seem trivial to the manufacturers.”
Read the rest of the story: Japan Aims to Tighten Recall Rules