Japan right-winger crashes through nuclear plant gates

TOKYO - A man driving what appeared to be a right-wing propaganda loudspeaker truck on Thursday crashed his vehicle through the gates of a Japanese nuclear plant and was arrested by police, officials said.

The man first drove to Japan's disaster-struck Fukushima Daiichi (No. 1) plant, was turned back, and then rammed the vehicle through the gates of its sister plant, Fukushima Daini (No. 2), in the early afternoon.

The driver fled after spending about 10 minutes inside the Daini plant, said a spokesman for the agency, Yuichi Sato.

Police tracked him down and detained him about two hours later, Sato told AFP. "His identity, motive and affiliation are not immediately clear," he said.

Sato said the truck resembled those equipped with loudspeakers and often used by right-wing nationalist groups for political demonstrations.

"We can't condone such an intrusion from the viewpoint of protection of nuclear material," Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director of the nuclear safety agency, told Japanese media. "We must reinforce the security."

Both plants, run by Tokyo Electric Power Co., were hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The plants are about 12 kilometres (eight miles) apart.

The giant wave knocked out Daiichi's cooling systems and workers have been struggling there since to keep fuel rods from overheating and melting down at four of its six reactors.

At Daini, the four reactors have been cooled and stabilised after the tremor led them to shut down automatically, officials say.