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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pro-nuclear power experts used secret meetings to manipulate deliberations, Japan

Secret meetings of pro-nuclear power experts organized by the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) "manipulated" deliberations by a subcommittee on Japan's nuclear fuel cycle by removing policy scenarios that would adversely affect power suppliers, a report by a Cabinet Office investigation team has revealed.

The report, which was submitted to nuclear disaster minister Goshi Hosono on Aug. 6, also revealed that the JAEC held a "coordination meeting" attended by power suppliers to influence the conclusion by the subcommittee. "It was inappropriate from the viewpoint of neutrality, fairness and transparency," the report concluded.

According to the report, the secret meetings -- which were technically called "study meetings" -- "guided discussions by a subcommittee by removing scenarios that would adversely affect utilities. The possibility that those meetings influenced the conclusion by the subcommittee cannot be ruled out."

The team's finding contradicts JAEC's claim that the secret meetings did not influence subcommittee discussion on the nuclear fuel cycle. The subcommittee was set up last September to review Japan's nuclear fuel cycle policy in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. "We will examine the report and disclose what responses we will make," JAEC Chairman Shunsuke Kondo told reporters.

The initial part of the report examined the characteristics of the secret meetings by analyzing e-mail dispatched by the Cabinet Office. Because one of the e-mails stated that "The direction (of discussions) will be examined by the study meetings, based on which discussions will be made," the report points out that those meetings "were aimed at influencing not only working-level meetings but other discussions as well." Read More