I, as Minister of State for Nuclear Emergency Preparedness, observed the nuclear disaster prevention drill which was held at the Secretariat of the NRA in association with the Nuclear Emergency Preparedness Council, the Cabinet Office. While all nuclear power facilities throughout Japan are being operated in an almost safest way under strict regulations, this drill is regularly conducted against nuclear power accident in case it should occur.
The assumption of the accident was unannounced, but the whole secretariat of the NRA responded all at once. Although they knew it was a drill, all the staff responded swiftly and seriously as if it were really happening. Their performance was powerful. The analysis of nuclear power facilities, instructions on evacuation, communications with the Prime Minister’s official residence, instructions on medical treatment, public relations and various other kinds of decisions and instructions must be conducted on the spot at each level of division or section in the secretariat. In order to make such actions possible, the staff need to be trained to be always attentive and capable of making accurate decisions on a daily basis.
Japanese people had a very hard time eight years ago when the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station’s accident occurred on March 11, 2011. I can imagine that the workers at the Station must have got into a panic, and it may be said that there was no central function in the government to cope with such an accident. However, we have obtained a lot of valuable experiences and learned many lessons from this accident. It is our duty to make the most of these experiences and lessons for enhancing the prevention and promoting the research of such accidents.
In Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture, a comprehensive nuclear disaster prevention drill will be held this fall. This drill is held once a year aiming to strengthen the partnership among the government, local governments, nuclear operators, and residents.