A Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) employee uses a geiger counter at the company’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant
Japan fishermen oppose ‘catastrophic’ release of Fukushima water to ocean
October 8, 2020
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese fish industry representatives on Thursday urged the government not to allow the release at sea of tonnes of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant, saying it would undo years of work to restore their reputation.
Tokyo Electric has collected more than a million tonnes of contaminated water since the plant was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
The water is stored in huge tanks that crowd the site and it says it will run out of storage room by 2022.
“We are dead against a release of contaminated water to the ocean as it could have a catastrophic impact on the future of Japan’s fishing industry,” Hiroshi Kishi, president of JF Zengyoren, told a meeting with government officials.
JF Zengyoren is a nationwide federation of Japan’s fisheries cooperatives.
Early this year, a panel of experts advising Japan’s government on the disposal of radioactive water from the destroyed Fukushima plant, recommended releasing it into the ocean.
Japan’s industry ministry, which has been hearing views since April, invited fishery representatives to a seventh round of such hearings.
“We vigorously oppose a release of contaminated water into the ocean as it will clearly cause reputational damage,” said Toshihito Ono, the head of fish wholesalers and processors in Fukushima prefecture.
Any release could prompt other countries to reinforce restrictions on imports of Japanese fishery products, reversing a recent trend toward easing, JF Zengyoren’s Kishi said.
Both representatives did not put forward alternatives, but Kishi asked the government to consider further and get as much information as possible before making its decision.
Kiyoshi Ejima, state minister of economy, trade and industry, said the government would take their views into account and make a responsible decision.
“We need to make a decision as soon as possible since this is a top priority issue,” he told reporters after the meeting, but gave no timeframe.
Fisheries oppose plan to release radioactive water
Oct. 8, 2020
A nationwide group of Japanese fisheries has opposed releasing diluted radioactive wastewater from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the sea.
The group’s president, Kishi Hiroshi, spoke at the 7th government hearing in Tokyo on Thursday.
At issue is the ever-increasing amount of wastewater stockpiled in tanks at the Fukushima plant. The water, after treatment, still contains tritium and some other radioactive substances.
The government has been seeking feedback from locals and relevant groups over a report compiled in February that said diluting the water to below government-set levels and releasing it into the sea or air is a realistic option.
Kishi said releasing the water into the sea will inevitably cause detrimental rumors, undoing years of efforts by fisheries and dealing a devastating blow to the nation’s fishing industry. Kishi said he is absolutely opposed to the plan.
Ono Toshihito, head of a seafood processing federation in Fukushima Prefecture, said he and his colleagues have toiled on the frontline of fighting rumors for nine years.
Ono said he is opposed to the plan, but at the same time he knows something needs to be done about the water. He said he has been in a dilemma because he also wants the crippled reactors dismantled as soon as possible.
Ono called on the government to expedite its efforts to enable people to return to normal economic activity.
Government officials say they hope to make a decision as soon as possible over how to deal with the water.