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A Japanese parliamentary investigation has declared last year’s failure of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was a “Made in Japan” crisis caused by the “ingrained conventions of Japanese culture”.
In a preface to the harshly worded report released on Thursday, Kiyoshi Kurokawa, chairman of the parliament’s Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, said the crisis was the result of “a multitude of errors and wilful negligence” by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power, regulators and government.
Its fundamental causes were to be found, Mr Kurokawa wrote, in “our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to ‘sticking with program’; our groupism; and our insularity”.
“What must be admitted – very painfully – is that this was a disaster ‘Made in Japan’, he wrote. “Had other Japanese been in the shoes of those who bear responsibility for this accident, the result [might] well have been the same.”
Mr Kurokawa’s commission is one of three large-scale investigations into the failure of Fukushima Daiichi, which suffered multiple reactor meltdowns and hydrogen explosions after its safety systems were knocked out by the huge earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan’s north-east coast on March 11, 2011.