Japanese government moves to monitor online discussions about Fukushima

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Kazuyo Nakamura
Asahi Japan Watch

While the government defends its new monitoring program of online postings concerning the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to stem the spread of “inaccurate” information, critics say it harkens back to Big Brother.

The Agency for Natural Resources and Energy said tweets on Twitter and postings to blogs will be monitored for groundless and inaccurate information that could inflame and mislead the public.

The agency said it is trying to “track down inaccurate information and to provide correct ones instead.”

But critics are skeptical about the agency’s motive, especially because the government has been under fire for failing to provide an accurate picture of what has been occurring at the plant and the spread of radioactive contamination.

The cost for the project was earmarked in an extra government budget to finance the rebuilding of northeastern Japan ravaged by the March 11 disaster.

The agency announced details of the monitoring project in late June when it solicited bids.

An advertising company in Tokyo won the contract, which is estimated at 70 million yen ($913,000).

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