Japanese PM Grilled Over Nuclear Disaster


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We begin today with the latest on the nuclear crisis in Japan. Prime Minister Naoto Kan and the president of the company that runs the troubled nuclear reactor were grilled in Parliament on Monday... with many saying the two have not handled the situatoin adequately.

According to the latest opinion poll, most Japanese are unhappy with Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

They say they want a new prime minister to lead the massive rebuilding program needed after last month's earthquake and tsunami.

Japan is also struggling to bring the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant under control.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) says it is hoping to achieve a cold shutdown to make the reactors stable within six to nine months.

But full recovery could take even longer, and Prime Minister Naoto Kan has vowed to speed up the process.

[Naoto Kan, Japanese Prime Minister]:
"In order for this outlook to be realized as soon as possible, the government plans to cooperate with Tokyo Electric Power where it needs co-operation, or work together, or push them forward when necessary, and in general where the government can help, we will help."

TEPCO's president was also present to answer questions from the Japanese parliament.

Many in parliament accused him of lacking a sense of urgency, especially in the beginning.

[Masataka Shimizu, TEPCO CEO]:
"There were several moments of extreme alarm, and we dealt with them all with a great sense of urgency, for example when the power went out or we lost control of the cooling system. However it is our policy to continue to deal with all issues with a great sense of urgency."

TEPCO was also the targeted on Monday, as protesters from both Japan and South Korea gathered to demand that the company stop using nuclear power.