Almost all workers, including managers required to deal with accidents, defied orders and fled the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant at a critical juncture when the disaster was unfolding in March 2011, documents showed.
Amid fears that a reactor containment vessel had been destroyed, around 650, or 90 percent, of the approximately 720 workers at the plant left the premises despite being told to remain at the site by the plant’s manager, Masao Yoshida.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the No. 1 plant, has never mentioned the orders Yoshida issued on March 15, 2011, four days after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami caused the meltdowns of three reactors. The company now says Yoshida’s orders were flexible, and that no breaches of company rules occurred.
Yoshida’s orders were revealed in a document covering exchanges when prosecutors on loan questioned him on behalf of the government’s Investigation Committee on the Accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations of Tokyo Electric Power Co.
The Asahi Shimbun obtained a copy of the document, consisting of more than 400 pages.