Oct 1, 2011
Japan’s former prime minister Naoto Kan has revealed he contemplated evacuating as many as 30 million people from Tokyo and surrounding areas during the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Speaking to Japan’s Kyodo News, Mr Kan, who was prime minister during the nuclear crisis, said evacuations on such a scale may have led to Japan being unable to function.
Mr Kan has since resigned from the prime ministership and can now speak more openly about the crisis.
He said he asked experts for “simulations of the worst case scenario” at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
He said the experts explained that people living 200 to 250 kilometres from the plant would have to be evacuated.
He said he contemplated the chaos that would have ensued if such a measure had been taken.
”It was a crucial moment when I wasn’t sure whether Japan could continue to function as a state,” he said.
”I felt that the risk was at its highest during the first 10 days [after the disaster struck].”
Mr Kan also said there were no effective safeguards in place because ”we had never foreseen a situation in which a quake, tsunami and a nuclear plant accident would occur at the same time.”