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Saturday, July 28, 2012
Tepco to let media glimpse 150 hours of disaster footage
Tokyo Electric Power Co. will disclose 150 hours of teleconference video footage captured after the start of the nuclear disaster to media organizations and journalists in early August.
The footage includes images — but no sound — of a visit on March 15 last year by then Prime Minister Naoto Kan to Tepco's headquarters in Tokyo, during which he reportedly had a heated exchange with its officials over their handling of the crisis.
The disclosure of the footage — from March 11 to 15, 2011 — will be strictly limited, with the utility planning to show it for only five days from Aug. 6 and reporters prohibited from recording or copying any images, Tepco said Friday at a news conference.
The images, which reporters will be allowed to take notes on, may provide possible answers to certain crucial questions, especially on whether Tepco planned a full pullout from the crippled plant and exchanges between the prime minister's office and the utility over the injection of seawater into reactor 1.
However, Tepco said that sound will only be available for 50 hours of video captured at its headquarters. The other 100 hours involve silent footage from the Fukushima No. 2 plant. The images will only be aired at a designated space at the utility's headquarters and with officials present.
Reporters demanded more flexibility from Tepco over the manner of disclosure, including the production of a DVD and permission to view the images at any time.
But the utility said it was concerned about critical information being leaked. It may, however, consider making the recordings available for longer than five days.
Other than Tepco executives whose names have already been disclosed, the utility will conceal employees' names to protect their privacy. Voices will also be masked whenever they address each another by name.
"We are concerned that if individuals' names are identified, they could become the target of abuse and people around them may also be affected," a Tepco official said.
The company has repeatedly voiced reluctance to disclose any footage of the crisis, citing employee privacy concerns.
Energy policy on pause?
The government may delay a decision on the nation's new energy policy amid growing criticism that its formulation has been too hasty, national policy minister Motohisa Furukawa said Saturday.
"We haven't set a specific deadline," Furukawa said on a TV program. "The most important factor is to proceed with the matter as carefully as possible. This should be prioritized over (reaching a decision) in August," as currently scheduled.
The government is holding a series of hearings nationwide through Saturday to gauge the public's view on its three options for the role nuclear energy should play by 2030 — zero, 15 percent, or 20 to 25 percent of Japan's total power generation.
In fiscal 2010, atomic energy provided 26 percent of the nation's electricity supply.