Asia

Japan utility: Delay in declaring 'meltdown' was cover-up

  • In this Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Naomi Hirose listens to a reporter's question during a news conference in Tokyo.  The utility that ran the Fukushima nuclear plant acknowledged Tuesday, June 21, 2016,  its delayed disclosure of the meltdowns at three reactors was tantamount to a cover-up and apologized for it.  Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Hirose's apology followed the revelation last week that an investigation had found Hirose's predecessor instructed officials during the 2011 disaster to avoid using the word "meltdown."(AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, File)

    In this Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Naomi Hirose listens to a reporter's question during a news conference in Tokyo. The utility that ran the Fukushima nuclear plant acknowledged Tuesday, June 21, 2016, its delayed disclosure of the meltdowns at three reactors was tantamount to a cover-up and apologized for it. Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Hirose's apology followed the revelation last week that an investigation had found Hirose's predecessor instructed officials during the 2011 disaster to avoid using the word "meltdown."(AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Naomi Hirose, left,  and senior director Takafumi Anegawa bow during a press conference at the TEPCO headquarters in Tokyo, Tuesday, June 21, 2016.  The utility that ran the Fukushima nuclear plant acknowledged Tuesday its delayed disclosure of the meltdowns at three reactors was tantamount to a cover-up and apologized for it.  Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Hirose's apology followed the revelation last week that an investigation had found Hirose's predecessor instructed officials during the 2011 disaster to avoid using the word "meltdown." (Kyodo News via AP) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

    Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Naomi Hirose, left, and senior director Takafumi Anegawa bow during a press conference at the TEPCO headquarters in Tokyo, Tuesday, June 21, 2016. The utility that ran the Fukushima nuclear plant acknowledged Tuesday its delayed disclosure of the meltdowns at three reactors was tantamount to a cover-up and apologized for it. Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Hirose's apology followed the revelation last week that an investigation had found Hirose's predecessor instructed officials during the 2011 disaster to avoid using the word "meltdown." (Kyodo News via AP) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT  (The Associated Press)

The utility that ran the Fukushima nuclear plant has acknowledged its delayed disclosure of the meltdowns at three reactors was tantamount to a cover-up and apologized for it.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Naomi Hirose's apology Tuesday followed the revelation that an investigation had found Hirose's predecessor instructed officials during the March 2011 disaster to avoid using the word "meltdown."

TEPCO instead described the reactors' condition as less serious "core damage" for two months after the earthquake and tsunami wrecked the plant, even though utility officials knew meltdowns had occurred.

An investigative report released last week said TEPCO's former president instructed officials to use the milder description under alleged pressure from the Prime Minister's Office, though it found no proof. Former officials at the Prime Minister's Office denied the allegation.