On Kansai /Fuji TV’s 8 o’clock morning news show Tokudaneとくダネ, it was reported that the TEPCO workers at the stricken Fukushima plant have only just recently started receiving a different kind of meals than the biscuits and fruit that they have been living on since March 11. But they have not yet been issued with futons (Japanese-style mattresses) to sleep on, and there are still insufficient bathing and showering facilities.

The show’s main presenter (I think it’s Tomoaki Ogura, centre in this photo) spoke the harshest words I’ve yet heard about TEPCO on Japanese TV: “What the hell are they playing around at?” (ふざけてるんじゃないか?)

And here are some more details from Japan’s Crisis: Context and Outlook  which I mentioned yesterday. I would say “some circumstances are truly inexplicable”:

Some circumstances were truly inexplicable, perhaps most shockingly the persistently inadequate number of individual dosimeters (radiation-sensitive gadgets worn by workers to measure their cumulative exposure to nuclear radiations). Because hundreds of dosimeters were apparently destroyed by the tsunami, Dai-ichi station personnel sent into high-radiation areas of the stricken plant did not have enough individual units and were forced to “share” the devices, by staying close together and hoping that the single dosimeter carried by one group member somehow would more or less indicate the dose being received by all others. This was revealed by Japan’s Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency only on March 31, with no explanation of why dosimeters were not immediately brought in from nearby nuclear power stations. Not much less bizarre was the fact that, even three weeks after the crisis began, the emergency workers at the Dai-ichi station were still subsisting on only two meals a day, including a breakfast of vegetable juice and crackers; when the available rations went from two to three meals a day in early April, the TEPCO spokesman admitted that the workers’ diet still had very little variety. Not surprisingly, even a population prone to be forbearing and tolerant in crises hardened its collective mind: about 60 percent of Japanese polled disapproved of the government’s handling of the nuclear crisis.

A recent newspaper article listed the political donations last year from TEPCO’s top management. All to the LDP.