Following a third explosion and a fire at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on Tuesday, Japanese officials warned people in a 30-kilometer, or 19-mile, radius to stay indoors due to potentially harmful radiation levels.
In a televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan urged calm, saying that the government is doing what it can to prevent further damage. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano later said radiation readings at the plant had fallen below harmful levels again.
Nuclear experts and Japanese politicians have expressed concerns over the transparency of the government’s nuclear energy department, London's Guardian reports.
"The actions of the Japanese government are completely contrary to their words,” John Large, an independent nuclear engineer reporting on the accident for Greenpeace International, told the newspaper. “... It was the same at Chernobyl, where they said there was a bit of a problem and only later did the full extent emerge."
The Guardian adds that in a newly released WikiLeaks cable from 2008, Japanese politician Taro Kono wrote to the U.S. that the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry had been "covering up nuclear accidents and obscuring the true costs and problems associated with the nuclear industry."