TEPCO to release teleconference videos after all

July 11, 2012

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Tokyo Electric Power Co., backing down under government pressure, says it will release videos of teleconferences in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster last year.

The audio and video recordings of discussions between officials at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 power plant and TEPCO headquarters could clear up a number of questions about the initial response to the crisis triggered by the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake.

"(The government) effectively instructed TEPCO to release the footage," industry minister Yukio Edano said at an Upper House Budget Committee meeting on July 10. "I have received a report that TEPCO is giving the matter positive consideration."

A senior TEPCO official told The Asahi Shimbun the same day that the company will make the recordings available.

The utility had previously rejected the release on grounds of privacy.

But having agreed to accept an injection of 1 trillion yen ($12.6 billion) from the government, the cash-strapped company clearly felt it had run out of options.

Some TEPCO shareholders have also sought a court order to prevent TEPCO from erasing the videos.

Junichi Matsumoto, a TEPCO manager, referred to government pressure to release the recordings at a news conference earlier in the day.

"We will decide whether to follow or decline administrative guidance on a case-by-case basis," he said.

Many issues in the early stages of the Fukushima disaster remain unclear.

The recordings could shed light on assertions by Naoto Kan, prime minister at the time, and other politicians that TEPCO had proposed withdrawing all workers from the crippled plant, which TEPCO has said is untrue.

The videos could also show what decisions the TEPCO leadership made over delays in venting to lower pressure inside the reactors and in pumping seawater into them.

(This article was written by Hideaki Kimura and Kaname Ohira.)

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Yukio Edano, minister of economy, trade and industry (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Yukio Edano, minister of economy, trade and industry (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • Yukio Edano, minister of economy, trade and industry (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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