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Japan's nuclear response 'bungled'


Japan's response to the nuclear crisis that followed the 11 March tsunami was confused and riddled with problems, including an erroneous assumption an emergency cooling system was working and a delay in disclosing dangerous radiation leaks, a report revealed yesterday.

The disturbing picture of bumbling workers and government officials scrambling to respond to the problems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant was contained in the report which detailed a government investigation.

The 507-page interim report, compiled by interviewing more than 400 people, found authorities had grossly underestimated tsunami risks, assuming the highest wave would be 20ft. The tsunami hit at over twice that height.

It criticised the use of the term "soteigai" meaning "outside our imagination", which implied authorities were shirking responsibility for what had happened.

It said that, by labelling the events as beyond what could have been expected, officials had invited public distrust.