JAPAN | Nuclear agency asked 2 more utilities to send staff to symposiums

Posted on August 3, 2011

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JAPAN | MAINICHI | 3 August 2011

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, journalists film the Onagawa nuclear power plant in Onagawa, Miyagi prefecture, Japan, on Tuesday, April 5, 2011. (AP photo/Xinhua, Ji Chunpeng)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — A former senior official of Japan’s nuclear safety agency acknowledged Wednesday that he asked two more power companies to mobilize their employees for government-sponsored symposiums on nuclear energy, in the latest revelations of alleged attempts to manipulate opinions at the events.

The official, who headed the public relations section at the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, told Kyodo News that he made such requests to Kyushu Electric Power Co. ahead of an October 2005 symposium on the Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture, and to Tohoku Electric Power Co. over the Onagawa plant in Miyagi Prefecture.

While the official could not specify when the Onagawa symposium was held, it is believed to be the one held in October 2006. The official also said he could not recall to whom and where he made the requests.

Meanwhile, Kyushu Electric dismissed the claim, saying it has found no record of such requests from the government after double checking with its staff and reviewing documents at the time.

A Tohoku Electric official said the company was looking into the matter and declined to comment.

The symposium on a

The symposium on a “pluthermal” project at the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant is held in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Aug. 26, 2007. (Mainichi)

Wednesday’s revelations came after the official told Kyodo News a day earlier that he asked senior officials at Shikoku Electric Power Co. to make its employees attend a symposium in June 2006.

The nuclear safety agency said a third-party panel to be created shortly will look into the allegations.

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