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Japanese Newspaper Retracts Fukushima Disaster Report and Fires Editor via The New York Times

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s second-largest daily newspaper, retracted an influential news report on the Fukushima nuclear disaster on Thursday after weeks of criticism from other news organizations.

The move, which included an apology, came a month after the newspaper retracted a series of articles on another hot-button issue: the women from Korea and elsewhere who were forced by Japan to serve in military brothels during World War II. The articles used reports about the practice by one Japanese man whose particular accusations have been widely discredited.

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In May, the newspaper cited testimony by the Fukushima plant manager Masao Yoshida in reporting that about 650 workers disobeyed orders and fled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant at a critical moment during the disaster in 2011.

In recent weeks other Japanese news organizations have reported on Mr. Yoshida’s testimony. Reports from The Mainichi Shimbun, The Yomiuri Shimbun and The Sankei Shimbun, three other leading newspapers, and the Kyodo News agency portrayed his comments differently, saying the exodus was the result of miscommunication.

Mr. Yoshida, who is regarded by many in Japan as a hero for preventing a wider disaster, asked before he died last year that the contents of his interviews not be made public. The government, however, released the text of his interviews on Thursday, saying that the release was necessary to clarify the public record.
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