David Fitzpatrick and Drew Griffin
CNN Special Investigations Unit
(CNN) - The operator of the nuclear reactors and power plants on the northern coast of Japan has a documented history of errors and cover-ups and, according to anti-nuclear activists, a pattern of hiding the truth when things go wrong.
Amidst the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the exact nature of the stress and damage at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, even Japan's Prime Minister, Naota Kan, was overheard demanding from officials of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) why the company withheld some information from the government.
Those reported comments were in themselves unusual because in the past, critics say, there has been close cooperation between the two.
"The history of the Japanese nuclear industry and the government is that is very tight and is less than glorious in regard to public information and full disclosure," Arjun Mahkijani told CNN.
Mahkijani is director of a small Washington-based public interest group called the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and has long been critical of nuclear power, both in the United States and around the world.
"These events are unprecedented," he said, "and there's every reason to believe TEPCO has not told the entire truth of what's been happening."
TEPCO officials deny they have been hiding critical data from the Japanese government.
But there's a detailed history of just those kinds of events in the recent past.
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