It was learned on Monday that despite daily forecasts, Japan's Meteorological Agency has been withholding data over the radioactive substances released from the troubled Fukushima I nuclear plant.
A report by the Yomiuri Shimbun said such secrecy casts doubts as to the government's handling of information about the nuclear crisis and is receiving criticisms from home and overseas for not releasing its own forecasts.
Upon the request of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the state sends information to the agency as to the time the radioactive particles are released, duration and their reach. The data is then fed into a supercomputer that includes wind direction to know where the substances will go and their amount to where they will spread.
But such data are not disclosed to the Japanese public, the report said.
Germany and Norway has been monitoring their own observations and publish them in their Websites.
The IAEA then analyzes the results and notifies various governments of the results.
However, it appears that the decision to announce the IAEA analysis depends on each government. Japan has not yet released the IAEA analysis.
An official from the Meteorological Agency said, "Japan has its own Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry-operated System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI) for dispersal forecasts. The government in its Basic Disaster Management Plan defines forecasts by SPEEDI as official forecasts.
"We don't know whether the IAEA basic data the agency uses for the forecasts really fit the actual situation. If the government releases two different sets of data, it may cause disorder in the society."
The SPEEDI forecast was once announced on 23 March but the government refused to make public the succeeding forecasts.
Commissioner Seiji Shiroya said, "We can't do it because the accuracy is still low."
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