The records, released Friday, detail meetings chaired by Prime Minister Naoto Kan and attended by other ministers and top government officials from the night of the nuclear crisis onwards until Dec. 26.
The summaries show officials were aware a meltdown was probable just hours after the plant lost power following an earthquake and tsunami on March 11. Meetings that followed involved officials struggling with just how far to extend evacuation zones, The Yomiuri Shimbum reported Sunday.
In the 76 pages of summary, the evacuation area was expanded three times before Kan decided the 20 kilometer (about 12 mile) radius was "sufficient."
After the No. 1 reactor was struck by a hydrogen explosion, the meeting the next day saw heated discussions in which officials drew parallels to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the former Soviet Union and the 1979 Three Mile Island crisis in Pennsylvania.
The meeting summaries paint a picture of confusion immediately following the events of the meltdown, as officials grappled over details of emergency management.