No record kept of Fukushima disaster meetings

The body set up to manage Japan's unfolding atomic catastrophe at Fukushima kept no records of its meetings, an official has said.

The government's nuclear disaster task force, headed by then prime minister Naoto Kan and including all of his ministers, has no minutes of the meetings that approved the evacuation of people living near the exploding reactors.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which has served as the secretariat for the task force launched on March 11, said it kept no minutes of the meetings, which also decided on the banning of foodstuffs from the area.

"Yes, it is true,'' said an agency spokesman, without elaborating.

The confirmation came after public broadcaster NHK said yesterday that the agency failed to record the exchanges and decision-making process in the meetings because officials were too busy.

The Cabinet Office, in charge of keeping all public records, said it has told the agency to study what it can do to create a written record of the decision-making processes.

"In the case of emergencies, it is legally permissible to create documents after the event.

"We have asked the safety agency to consider what can be done,'' said a Cabinet Office official.

"We need to know about the decision-making process and how information was processed,'' he said.

The government has been criticised for having failed to keep minutes of other top-level meetings, held as reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant went into meltdown after their cooling systems were swamped by the March 11 tsunami, sparked by a massive earthquake.

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