A seismologist said he had warned two years ago that a massive tsunami might hit a nuclear power station in northeastern Japan, but the operator of the now-stricken plant had ignored it, a news report said on Sunday.
Yukinobu Okamura said Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of Fukushima 1 plant damaged by the March 11 earthquake and resulting tsunami, had insisted on the safety of its quake-resistance design and was reluctant to raise the assumption of possible quake damage, Kyodo news agency reported.
"It is odd to have an attitude of not taking into consideration indeterminate aspects," Okamura, who heads the Active Fault and Earthquake Research Centre, was quoted as saying.
Okamura issued his warning in 2009, based on his study since 2004 of the traces of a major tsunami believed to have swept away about 1,000 people in the year 869 after an 8.3-magnitude earthquake.
His research showed that tsunami had struck a wide range of the coastal regions of northeastern Japan, the same region hit by this month's disasters, Kyodo said.
The country is facing a grave nuclear crisis since the earthquake and tsunami struck the plant. Its cooling functions failed and radioactive materials were released. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from surrounding areas.
The operator has repeatedly said that the March 11 tsunami was "beyond the scope of the assumption".
The toll stood at 10,489 on Sunday, while 16,621 people were listed as missing, the National Police Agency said.