This news warrants a brief post. And I’m sure there will be more analysis on the topic in the hours to come. But here is an excerpt of what NHK reports:
“The Japanese government’s nuclear safety agency has decided to raise the crisis level of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant accident from 5 to 7, the worst on the international scale. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency made the decision on Monday. It says the damaged facilities have been releasing a massive amount of radioactive substances, which are posing a threat to human health and the environment over a wide area.”
It’s surprising that these sort of assessments seem to be done retrospectively. If it had been treated as a level 7 from the start perhaps the response would have been better calibrated to the crisis.
Here is a really interesting report in a series by Daily Yomiuri: “From the standpoint of the U.S. government, which regarded the Fukushima nuclear accident as seriously as the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the apparently idle manner in which the Kan administration was approaching the crisis appeared to reflect a lack of urgency, the analysts said.”