A Japanese newspaper says most workers at Fukushima nuclear facility defied orders and fled the plant at the most critical moment when the disaster was unfolding three years ago.
Newly-released documents by Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun show almost all workers fled the Fukushima plant during the March 2011 nuclear disaster.
Amid fears that a reactor containment vessel had been destroyed, 90 percent of the approximately 720 workers fled the plant despite being told to remain there by their manager, Masao Yoshida.
Yoshida, who later died of cancer in 2013, did not blame the rank-and-file workers for fleeing, saying “It may have been unavoidable.”
However, he expressed surprise that group managers were among those who had left.
The Fukushima power plant was damaged beyond repair by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised that his government will take prompt steps to clean up the wrecked power station.
A report released by a Japanese parliamentary panel later said the incident at the Fukushima nuclear plant was not only due to the tsunami, but also a “man-made disaster.”
The report criticized the “government, regulatory authorities and Tokyo Electric Power Company” for being devoid of “a sense of responsibility to protect people’s lives and society.”