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Independent Panel Challenges Japan’s Account of Disaster at Nuclear Plant via The New York Times

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Mr. Kurokawa, a former leader of Tokyo University’s medical department and a professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, has lined up a prominent team, including the Nobel laureate Koichi Tanaka. The committee will have its first full meeting on Monday.

“For Japan to regain global credibility, we need an investigation into the disaster that is completely independent,” Mr. Kurokawa said. He said he was aware of questions raised about quake damage to the plant, and that the committee “would investigate that issue vigorously.”

“The lessons Japan can learn are globally relevant, because such a disaster can happen again,” he said.

Mr. Kurokawa’s committee has garnered attention because some members have been openly critical of Japan’s nuclear policy, including Katsuhiko Ishibashi, a seismologist who has long warned of the risks Japan’s volatile geology poses to its 54 nuclear reactors.

The panel includes Mitsuhiko Tanaka, a former nuclear engineer at Babcock Hitachi who has argued that the quake was likely to have damaged reactors at the plant to the extent that meltdowns would have occurred without the tsunami. Tepco disputes that view. Mr. Tanaka worked on the design of the reactors.

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