TOKYO - Japan's former prime minister says the country was woefully unprepared for last year's nuclear disaster in Fukushima.

Naoto Kan told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview Friday that said the crisis exposed a host of man-made vulnerabilities in Japan's nuclear industry, from inadequate safety guidelines to crisis management, all of which he said need to be overhauled.

Kan, who stepped down in September, also suggested that the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi plant should not have been built so close to the ocean on a tsunami-prone coast.

The cores of three reactors at the plant melted down after it was hit by a tsunami on March 11 that knocked out the vital cooling system, causing it to spew radiation in the worst disaster since Chornobyl in 1986.