Sato calls the national policy "nuclear absolutism." Last week Sato told journalists at Tokyo's Foreign Correspondents' Club that he was initially an enthusiastic supporter of nuclear power, that like his predecessors he supported it after the government and utility giant Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) brought jobs, subsidies, and growth to his Prefecture. In 1998 he conditionally agreed to the controversial use of mixed oxide plutonium uranium fuel at the plant, but he reneged after discovering a cover-up of reactor malfunctions and cracks. After that, he said his doubts grew." Between 2002 and 2006, 21 problems at the Fukushima plant were reported to my office," Sato said. “Whistleblowers, including employees at the plant, bypassed both TEPCO and Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) to come to me because they feared, rightly, that their information would go straight to TEPCO.”
Sato became an increasingly bitter critic of the Fukushima nuclear plant and Japan's entire energy policy, directed by NISA's powerful government overseer, the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry. In 2006, the government removed this “irritating and annoying” governor with convenient bribery charges. He was forced to resign and he was convicted.He claimed the charges were politically motivated, but in a nation with a 98% conviction rate on criminal charges, his chances of success were small. TEPCO and NISA wanted Sato gone and they got what they wanted – another governor they could control.
Sato was not surprised that this disaster occurred. “There was a dry run for the March 11 disaster last year, after power stopped to pumps sending water to reactor 2 on June 17, 2010. TEPCO was repeatedly asked what would happen if the back-up diesel generators also failed but the company waived this concern away.” Last month's crisis was triggered when the magnitude 9 quake knocked out the plant's electricity and a 15-meter tsunami poured over the building housing the back-up generators which were only built to withstand a 5.7 meter surge. Sato contemptuously dismissed TEPCO's famous statement made immediately after the tsunami that this was a "disaster beyond our expectations," pointing to the history of large catastrophic tsunamis that have assaulted Japan's eastern coastline for thousands of years and the constant academic warnings about the probability of a seismic event beyond the capacity of the plant to withstand.
"This was a disaster waiting to happen," Sato said. Sato is convinced that the Japanese government and the media will do nothing to upset the nuclear status. "Nuclear power must be seen as absolutely safe. In 10 years time we will see another disaster. It's almost as though we are in a fascist country where information is hidden from the public. This is time for Japan to wake up and see what the situation is."
It is not just the Japanese people who are paying the price for the moral corruption of Japanese politicians and bureaucrats. The entire world is suffering the consequences, including our imperiled oceans. From radioactive particulates circling the Northern Hemisphere by air and sea, to pressure from increased over-fishing, to the shut-down of economic productivity in nations dependent upon Japanese industry – the entire world, and every species, is paying the price of this gross irresponsibility. Let’s not forget that the corrupt bureaucrats continuing to support and cover-up nuclear power are the same ones subsidizing Japan’s illegal whaling.