JAPAN | Kyushu Electric e-mail scam skewed meet result

Posted on July 13, 2011


JAPAN | YOMIURI | 13 July 2011

The number of messages in support of restarting the Nos. 2 and 3 reactors at the Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture would not have exceeded those against the restart, if not for messages sent by employees of Kyushu Electric Power Co. and its subsidiary companies.

More than 130 people acted on an e-mail sent by management urging them to e-mail positive opinions to a public meeting, it was learned Wednesday. In the meeting on June 26, the utility explained the need to resume operations at the Nos. 2 and 3 reactors.

The explanatory meeting was broadcast live on cable TV and the Internet. The organizer began accepting opinions and questions from local residents on June 25, and read some of them during the live program.

According to an in-house investigation into the scandal by the power corporation, 226 e-mails and 60 faxes were in favor of the restoration, while 119 e-mails and 44 faxes were against it. If Kyushu Electric and its subsidiaries’ employees are subtracted from those in favor of the restart, those against the restart would have been in the majority.

Kyushu Electric will include the information in a report based on its in-house investigation, which it expects to submit to the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry on Thursday at the earliest.

Kyushu Electric is expected to admit in the investigation report that the e-mail scandal was introduced by its former Vice President Mamoru Dangami, who was in charge of nuclear power generation at that time. He transferred as president of a subsidiary company in late June.

According to the investigation, prior to the explanatory meeting, Dangami was worried about negative opinions regarding reactivation. He directly told the Saga branch manager and subordinates in the nuclear power generation department, saying: “It’s not good that there is so much negative sentiment. Please help us balance [the meeting].”

As a result, a division chief in the nuclear power generation department sent an e-mail, on June 22, to the firm’s four subsidiary partners and three offices such as the Genkai nuclear power plant, instructing employees to submit opinions positive on the restart.

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