Threat perception

ASAHI SHIMBUN DAILY . Tokyo . October . 2002

Even as North Korea acknowledges its covert nuclear programme, a poll by the Tokyo-based newspaper Asahi Shimbun reveals that almost 90 per cent of Japanese surveyed have apprehension that another nuclear power plant accident could occur in their country. According to the study, 49 per cent of respondents were seriously concerned about a possible nuclear accident and 38 per cent had some fears.

Earlier, in August, the Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) admitted that it had hidden the existence of cracks in several of its nuclear reactors over a period of years, partly by falsifying data on safety checks. Since the TEPCO revelation, several other power firms have said they also failed to report cracks in their nuclear reactors. The daily conducted the survey following these admissions. Japan's n-record suffered a setback when in 1999 the country's worst-ever nuclear accident occured at a plant at Tokaimura, 140 kilometre northeast of Tokyo. It exposed hundreds of residents, plant workers and emergency personnel to radiation and two plant workers died.

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