Yasuhisa Tanaka, center, chairman of an outside investigation team appointed by the operator of Japan's damaged Fukushima nuclear plant, speaks during a press conference in Tokyo Thursday, June 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Mari Yamaguchi)
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An outside investigation team appointed by the operator of Japan's damaged Fukushima nuclear plant said Thursday that an instruction from the company's then-president to avoid using the term "meltdown" delayed the full disclosure of the status of three reactors.The panel of three TEPCO-commissioned lawyers said the company used the milder term despite knowing that the damage far exceeded its meaning, because of the instructions by then-President Masataka Shimizu.The Prime Minister's Office has denied putting any pressure on TEPCO and the safety agency over language.TEPCO has said the delay in confirming the meltdown didn't affect the company's emergency response at the plant. Delays in the announcement of meltdowns surfaced earlier this year in a separate investigation in which TEPCO acknowledged that a company manual had been overlooked, reversing its earlier position that it had no internal criteria for a meltdown.
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