TOKYO, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Tuesday slammed Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) for its botched handling of the quake-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant at which two explosions Tuesday led to the leak of radioactive substances into the atmosphere.
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan speaks at a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, March 15, 2011. (Xinhua/Kyodo)
According to the Kyodo news agency, one of its reporters overheard Kan saying to the company's executives at TEPCO's head office, "what the hell is going on?"
The prime minister's angry remarks came as local TV was reporting an explosion to the public at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which led to radiation leaking into the atmosphere and being detected in the country's capital.
Sources close to the matter said of that incident, the prime minister was livid that he was receiving his news at the same time and in the same manner as the rest of the nation.
The prime minister also urged TEPCO not to withdraw its workers from the faltering power plant, saying that in the event of a withdrawal he was "100 percent sure the company would collapse."
However, following the second explosion on Tuesday, the plant operator pulled out 750 workers, leaving just 50 to deal with cooling the overheating reactors.
Fukushima Govorner Yuhei Sato phoned Kan and told him that "the fears and anger of residents in the prefecture are reaching the limit," according to a statement by a local government official to the press on Tuesday.
Sato insisted the central government do more to bring the nuclear crisis to an end and insisted that TEPCO should "provide accurate information much earlier to the central government."
Japanese citizens as well as the government have been wholly unsatisfied with TEPCO's shoddy and tardy release of vital information on the failing plant's status.