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TOKYO | Early in the Fukushima nuclear crisis, U.S. officials felt that nobody in Japan’s government was taking charge, and Washington considered evacuating U.S. troops in a worst-case scenario, a retired U.S. envoy said Thursday.

When the March 11 earthquake and tsunami set off the crisis by crippling the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant and sending it toward meltdown, Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s administration initially acted as if it was the plant operator’s problem, not the government’s, former diplomat Kevin Maher said.

“There was nobody in charge. Nobody in the Japanese political system was willing to say ‘I’m going to take responsibility and make decisions,’ ” said Mr. Maher, who coordinated U.S. offers to help Tokyo deal with the crisis.


Anti-graft crusader agrees to 15-day fast

NEW DELHI | A renowned Indian anti-corruption crusader plans to embark on a 15-day public hunger strike that will pit him and his thousands of supporters against the scandal-plagued government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his aides said Thursday.

Anna Hazare, who has been fasting since Tuesday, reached an agreement with police to hold the demonstration starting Friday to push for tough new anti-corruption legislation, after a two-day standoff at a New Delhi jail.

Mr. Hazare’s ordeal has hit a chord with Indians fed up with rampant corruption. Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through cities across the country to show their support for his demand to strengthen a government-reform bill.

“People were feeling suffocated in an environment of corruption around them. There is a limit to people’s patience. That’s why people came out on the streets,” an exuberant Mr. Hazare said in a video posted by his supporters on YouTube.

The government has accused Mr. Hazare of trying to blackmail Parliament with his threat to fast to death if they do not pass his proposed legislation to create a powerful ombudsman to police the government.