Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
The multi-nuclide removal facility is seen under construction at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)'s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture, March 6, 2013, ahead of the second-year of anniversary of the the March 11, 2011 tsunami and earthquake. REUTERS/Issei Kato (JAPAN - Tags: DISASTER ANNIVERSARY BUSINESS CONSTRUCTION ENERGY) *** Local Caption *** FUK612_JAPAN-FUKUSH_0306_11.JPG
The multi-nuclide removal facility is seen under construction at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)'s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture, March 6, 2013, ahead of the second-year of anniversary of the the March 11, 2011 tsunami and earthquake. REUTERS/Issei Kato (JAPAN - Tags: DISASTER ANNIVERSARY BUSINESS CONSTRUCTION ENERGY) *** Local Caption *** FUK612_JAPAN-FUKUSH_0306_11.JPG

Lessons from Fukushima, two years on

Two years on from Fukushima, governments and companies can learn lessons in transparency and accountability.

 

Companies have valuable lessons in transparency to glean from the Fukushima disaster, said the author of an independent report on the accident that famously called it "Made in Japan".

Dr Kiyoshi Kurokawa, the chairman of the committee appointed by Japan's parliament to investigate the March 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, blamed a lack of transparency and a fear of authority for the extent of the crisis in the landmark 641-page report published last year.

Corporations around the world should embrace openness to avoid the same pitfalls as seen at Fukushima, he said during a visit to Abu Dhabi, pointing to the example of Olympus, the camera maker that shocked investors in 2011 with revelations of financial fraud dating back to the 1990s.

"The world demands more transparency from government and companies because of connectivity," said Dr Kurokawa. "You can't hide. So that means when something happens, unless you have some kind of process you lose the credibility. And once you lose credibility, particularly up in the government or the big companies, that takes a long time to recover."

This month Japan marked the second anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, referred to by some simply as "3/11". Only two of Japan's 50 operational reactors are online today.

Elsewhere, construction is continuing on new reactors, including in Abu Dhabi, but some companies have taken a hit from aborted atomic energy plans in Europe. Nuke, the stock index of nuclear operators and providers, has lost a quarter of its value since the accident. Dr Kurokawa calls Japan, which before the accident kept its nuclear promoter and regulator housed in the same ministry, a classic example of "regulatory capture" - when an agency created to safeguard the public interest instead becomes a proponent of the industry.

"That happens in every country," said Dr Kurokawa, a nephrologist who also serves on the board of Abu Dhabi's Khalifa University and met Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation representatives while in the capital. "With politics and money and government, that always happens."

For Japan, the potential for reputational damage was acute.

"When you say Japan, what is the key word you say? Technology, right?" he said. "If it was in one of the failed states, everybody would say, OK, that happens."

Dr Kurokawa stressed the importance of open post-mortems on such accidents - he posted the commission's proceedings on YouTube, in part because he hoped it might influence decisions to restart reactors - but that during normal operation, the degree of transparency was for individual countries to decide.

"It's a national governance issue," said Dr Kurokawa. "When it comes to a nuclear accident, which is relevant to the rest of the world, you have to make it fairly transparent."

 

ayee@thenational.ae

More coverage, b6

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 The cooling towers of the Temelin nuclear power plant near the Tyn nad Vltavou in Czech Republic. The country wants to continue expanding nuclear energy capacity despite cancelling a tender to build two new units. David W Cerny / Reuters

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 17, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 17, 2014.

 A sign points the way to an outdoor market popular with German visitors on the Polish side of the German-Polish border. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

In pictures: A decade since the European Union went east

May 1 will mark 10 years since the European Union expanded east, taking in countries like Poland, the Czech Republic and the Baltic states as new members. And though the border region between Germany and Poland is flourishing with trade and cultural exchange, the open border has also brought a sharp rise in crime.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National