Staff WriterDec 20,2015
***“I can understand there are concerns after terrorist attacks like the ones in Paris,” said NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka at a news conference on Nov. 18. “For now, we will tighten security measures by asking (for the) cooperation of related organizations like the police,” he said.But the NRA’s recent decision to revise its requirements to cope with terrorism has fueled fears over potential attacks on Japanese plants.
***The Japan Times asked the NRA and Tokyo Electric Power Co. to comment on Ban’s comments, but both declined.***“The Islamic State has warned the pagan nation of Japan against further endangering lives of Japan’s citizens through Japanese support of the American crusade,” the jihadi extremist group said in the latest issue of its English-language online magazine Dabiq.
Even before the Fukushima crisis, the U.S. expressed serious concern over the apparent lack of security at Japanese nuclear plants.
In May 2011, the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks released a number of documents it claimed were cables sent from the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo to Washington in 2006 and 2007.In one cable dated Feb. 26, 2007, the U.S. expressed concerns by reporting “armed national police are present at certain nuclear power plants . . . in Japan, but they do not guard all facilities and contract civilian guards are prevented by law from carrying weapons.”
Another cable, dated Nov. 2, 2006, referred to an anti-terrorism drill held at a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the village of Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture. It reported that some Japanese officials “pointed out flaws in the drill, saying it was unrealistic because participants had advance copies of the scenario.”
Kevin Maher, who served as the minister-counselor for science and technologies and environmental affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, was among the U.S. officials surprised to learn of the apparent lack of armed security guards at Japanese nuclear plants.
In a 2003 meeting in Tokyo, Maher said he and a visiting White House official at the time urged senior officials at Japan’s now-defunct Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency to deploy armed guards to tighten security.
“We were explaining that you need to be prepared for an armed terrorist attack,” Maher said in a recent interview with The Japan Times. “Literally their answer was, ‘No, because guns are illegal in Japan,’ ” he added.
Maher, however, stressed he now believes Japanese security measures at nuclear plants have been greatly strengthened under the NRA’s new safety standards and the more realistic crisis-management approach taken by the Abe administration.Maher asserted that nuclear plants are now more tightly protected and there are many other “softer” targets in Japan that would be easier for terrorists…