TOKYO, March 8 (UPI) -- A former head of the Tokyo Fire Department told Mainichi Shimbun he regretted ordering firefighters to spray water into the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Yuji Arai, who ordered the spraying in last March at the crippled plan, said the safety of firefighters was not guaranteed.
"I still believe I shouldn't be forgiven for issuing the order as the safety of my subordinates was not confirmed," Arai said in an exclusive interview with the newspaper.
Arai stepped down from leading the department last year in July.
Arai said he sent firefighters to the nuclear power station, devastated by a tsunami, at the request of Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara.
"We had no choice under such a critical situation. However, since my most important responsibility is to guarantee the safety of my subordinates in their operations, my issuance of the order constitutes negligence of my responsibilities," he told the newspaper. "I still feel it was contradictory."
Arai also said his department had not been told there was a radiation-proof building on the premises of the nuclear plant.
"Even the Fire and Disaster Management Agency of the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry didn't know the existence of the facility," he told the newspaper, "and we were never informed of it. If we had known about the facility, we could have used it as a base for our operations."