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Japan's nuclear safety panel received donations: report
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Jan 1, 2012

Almost a third of commissioners and examiners at Japan's nuclear safety commission received donations from the country's nuclear power industry, the Asahi Shimbun reported Sunday.

The influential daily said the governmental commission's neutrality could be brought into question at a time when the safety of nuclear reactors in Japan was in doubt after a March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

The quake-tsunami disaster has left more than 19,000 people dead or missing and a nuclear power plant in meltdown, which has been since leaking radiation into the environment.

Two of the organisation's five permanent commissioners and 22 of its 84 outside examiners received donations from companies and industrial organisations related to nuclear power, in five years to March 2011, Asahi said.

The donations totaled about 85 million yen (1.1 million dollars), the daily said.

Of them, 11 received donations from nuclear reactor manufacturers and, or, power utilities and nuclear fuel companies which are examined by the commission, Asahi said.

The commission is authorised to guide the state and power utilities from a neutral position.

Haruki Madarame, chairman of the commissioners, received four million yen from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries between 2006 and 2009 when he was a professor at the University of Tokyo before assuming the commission's post last April, Asahi said.

Madarame denied he had given any favours to the company at all in return for the donations.

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