Some information from high level U.S. envoy about the initial actions for response in Japan; from the L.A. Times. Former envoy tells of U.S. worries over Japan’s quake response.
“There was nobody in charge,” says Kevin Maher in describing the disarray that Washington saw in March as Naoto Kan’s government tried to deal with the tsunami and nuclear disaster.
Relations between the U.S. and Japan, already strained over the delayed relocation of an American military base on Okinawa, received no help this week after a retired U.S. envoy publicly criticized Tokyo’s initial response to its March nuclear crisis.
Comments by Kevin Maher, a former director of the U.S. State Department’s Japan Office, shed light on Washington’s behind-the-scenes mindset during the early days of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, Maher said U.S. officials worried over the lack of leadership shown by Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s government after damage from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that led to meltdowns of several reactors at the coastal atomic plant.
At one point, Maher said the Obama administration considered a worse-case scenario of evacuating tens of thousands of U.S. citizens from the Tokyo metropolitan area.
“There was nobody in charge,” Maher said Thursday at a speech at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. “Nobody in the Japanese political system was willing to say ‘I’m going to take responsibility and make decisions.'”
- You: Former U.S. envoy critical of Japan’s nuclear crisis response (latimes.com)
- US envoy: Tokyo didn’t take charge when crisis hit (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Former envoy tells of US worries over Japan’s quake response – Los Angeles Times (news.google.com)