JAPAN | Systematic involvement suspected in Genkai scandal

Posted on July 8, 2011

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JAPAN | NHK | Friday, July 08, 2011 14:48 +0900 (JST)

Kyushu Electric Power Company says its nuclear energy division may have been involved in a systematic effort to manipulate public opinion to support the restarting of its Genkai nuclear power plant.

Last month, the government held a meeting to explain safety measures to local residents before restarting the No.2 and 3 reactors at the plant in Saga Prefecture.

The meeting was broadcast live on TV and the internet, and viewers were invited to submit their opinions by e-mail or fax.

It was learned on Friday that the 2 of the utility’s executives, including a vice president in charge of the nuclear energy division, instructed their subordinates to help with the effort, referring to the meeting.

The company previously admitted that employees of the utility and 4 affiliated firms — more than 1,500 people in total — were instructed to send e-mails during the meeting in support of the reactors’ restart.

The 2 reportedly felt that the meeting was important because it took place just prior to Kyushu Electric’s general shareholders’ meeting.

They were also reportedly interested in the opinions sent to the meeting.

Industry Minister Banri Kaieda said he was deeply disappointed at the utility’s behavior in light of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. He said he would like to prevent a recurrence of the scheme by keeping power utilities in check.

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Posted in: JAPAN