Japan: Rare public apology by Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant manager

[Video Link]

“We sincerely apologize to all local residents, the people of Fukushima prefecture, and the general public for the anxiety and inconvenience caused by the accident,” says Masao Yoshida, general manager of TEPCO's radiation-spewing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, in the video above.

The rest of the video is pretty thin on progress details, and the upbeat "getting things done" tone conflicts with what is reflected in independent reports (see links below).

At the WSJ's Japan Realtime blog, Kenneth Maxwell writes:

Scenes from inside Fukushima Daiichi exist but are rare enough. But scenes from within the ravaged Tepco plant featuring its general manager making a direct apology for the consequences of the March 11 disasters, along with several bows, are even rarer. Non-existent until now, in fact. While TV cameras have caught up with Mr. Yoshida before, his public appearances have been extremely rare, and the video released by Tepco Wednesday featuring Mr. Yoshida’s direct, on-camera apology–a matter of considerable sensitivity in Japan–is his first such comment within the context of an official company document.


  1. I was just introduced to a nuclear scientist who moved here to Hawaii the day after the tsunami because she did not want her family near the damaged reactor.

    Not . . . a . . .good . . . sign.

  2. Found this appropriate Charles Nelson Reilly image when I did a Google search for “too little, too late.”

  3. I hope he comes back in 10 years and apologizes for all of the deaths of the private contractors working at the plant and all of the cancer suffered by children and infants.

    Those apologies will be ever so helpful.

      1. You realize that the town of Fudai in Japan survived the tsunami because the mayor championed building a 66-foot tall seawall. In contrast the seawall at Fukushima had a 19-foot tall seawall. And the tsunami waves were about 47-feet high.


        You can plan for disaster, but that costs money.  And TEPCO has a long history of cutting corners. This was the worst example by far. They should be blamed because they put profits above safety.

      2. But you realize a massively undersized flood wall, a lack of redundant systems, and widely criticized design flaws at the nuclear plant came well before the tidal wave, right?

        So, while he is not responsible for the tidal wave, he is speaking for the company, and the company definitely is responsible for not seeing that tidal wave coming decades earlier, profitably “unaware” of their responsibilities.

    1. Yes, it is very easy (indeed fashionable) to blame people in a cynical sarcastic way when bad things happen. I doubt the guy knew a massive earthquake followed by a massive tsunami was going to rip a hole in his nuclear plant. I imagine he has family close by too. Accidents have and will always happen – but what more do you want him to do? Anyone reading this could accidentally kill someone today either in a car or with a harsh word. If you consume any electricity and prefer to pay lower bills for it then you are equally culpable – will you apologise? 

      1. As others above have already pointed out, the company he’s apologizing for is not a mere, hapless victim of an accident. There was much they could have done to make its effects less severe than they have been. That’s what more I wan(ed him and his company to do. And since they haven’t, then I want them to admit to, apologize for, AND compensate for more than “anxiety and inconvenience.”

  4. Yoshida is the guy who disobeyed direct orders from superiors to stop cooling
    with seawater. (The Prime Ministerial liaison heard discussion about the risks of cooling with seawater, and concluded that the general vibe was that the government didn’t think they should do it.)

    If he’d done what he was told it could have been a lot worse.

  5. “We sincerely apologize…for the anxiety and inconvenience caused by the accident”
    accident ?
    anxiety and inconvenience ?
    legal liability understatement or traditional Japanese politeness ?

  6. And now he will go on to live a long and comfortable life on his immense pension, which will be paid no matter what. Having “taken responsibility” and bowed deeply, his responsibility is over. In Japan, he has paid the ultimate price. Of course modern Japan is pathetic and stupid (I live here, btw) when it  comes to responsible people facing actual consequences. He will have his luxurious lifestyle, comfort girls and be told by everyone he knows how strong he is and how he must have suffered, and have another drink on the house.

    If he had any balls at all he’d commit suicide. And I’m quite serious…any real Japanese a couple decades ago would have. But merely causing a massive national catastrophe (by not being prepared and by lying about the extent) is now a mere bobble in one’s career. 

      1. Ok, high-end prostitutes. And you’d be surprised how little has changed her as far as the lifestyles of the elite. This fellow will be living the high life regardless of his “apology”. He’ll still have the call girls and limos and bonuses long after the “liquidators” have been forgotten and thei paperwork lost.

        1. Jansob, I doubt he’ll be living the “high life”.  If anything, he’ll continue on with Tepco until he’s 60,  maybe with a window seat somewhere or at least on site until this is over.  Then he’ll retire and go live quietly somewhere, no better and no worse for what he did (and didn’t do).  I don’t think he’s high enough on the food chain to get the big dollars, and he cannot amakudari either: he’s already in the private sector.

          I don’t think companies really pay for nee-chans that much anymore: 20 years of a flat economy will do that.  Tepco still has cash, but it’s saving it for recovery/damage controlo.  Besides, this guy has a public profile now: the last thing they would want is a tabloid scandal.

          1. Whatever he gets in compensation is a lot more than those who have died or lost their homes or loved ones will ever get. Which is why I don’t care about his feelings or his apology.

            Never apologize for corporations or the people who enable them. They barely know you exist and will never apologize to you unless pressured or legally compelled.

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