Newspaper: The Sentinel

Date: April 7, 1979

Article: Japan feeling TMI shock waves

Author: United Press International


TOKYO (UPI) - The Three Mile Island nuclear accident has caused shock waves in Japan - the only country to have suffered from an atomic bomb attack.

The Japanese government is already taking steps to drastically revise its own ambitious nuclear power programs, with construction of seven new plants now in doubt, according to one high-ranking government official.

Government officials have warned that the shut down of seven potentially defective nuclear power plants may cause a power crisis in the Tokyo area this summer.

One official said safety in nuclear power is emerging as a major agenda topic at the Tokyo summit of industrial nations this June because of the accident near Harrisburg. Fear of possible nuclear power plant accidents in Japan prompted some 60 anti-nuclear protestors to stage a sit-in in a conference room of the Natural Resources and Energy Agency of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry Thursday night.

The demonstrators, representing diverse anti-nuclear groups, held four agency officials in the room by force overnight when their demand for a meeting with ministry head Masumi Esaki was not immediately granted.

The officials were finally released Friday morning after the demonstrators received assurances contact with Esaki would be made.

Japan currently has nine nuclear power plants in operation of two other reactors, officials said a "power crisis" may occur in Tokyo and surrounding areas if the June rainy season this year is dry and the summer is hot.