Hiroshi Kishi, the head of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations, speaks at a government hearing in Tokyo on Thursday.
Fishing industry chief opposes releasing Fukushima No. 1 water into sea
Oct 9, 2020
The head of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations, or Zengyoren, has voiced strong opposition against releasing treated water containing radioactive tritium from the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant into the sea.
“We are absolutely against ocean release” as a way to dispose of tainted water at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture, Hiroshi Kishi, head of Zengyoren, said Thursday at a government hearing in Tokyo.
Kishi said that fishermen who are operating along the coast of Fukushima have been suffering from problems caused by the radioactive fallout from the 2011 meltdowns at the plant, such as fishing restrictions, as well as malicious rumors about the safety of farm and marine products there.
If the government chooses to release radioactive water into the sea, a leading option to get rid of accumulating low-level radioactive water at the plant, it will trash all efforts fishermen have so far made to sweep away such rumors and consequently “will have a devastating impact on the future of Japan’s fishing industry,” Kishi stressed.
Toshihito Ono, head of the prefecture’s fishery product processors association, who joined the hearing via a video call, warned that Fukushima’s processed marine products, including products that use ingredients from other prefectures, will become targets of harmful rumors.
In a report released in February, a government panel pointed out that a realistic option would be releasing the tainted water into the ocean after dilution or into the air through evaporation.
Many people fear that both methods will add to the reputational damage suffered by Fukushima products. But treated water storage at the power plant is expected to reach full capacity as early as autumn 2022.
After the hearing, state industry minister Kiyoshi Ejima told reporters, “We find it unadvisable to put off a decision on how to dispose of the water because not much room is left at the plant for tanks containing the water.”
This was probably the last hearing on the water issue, people familiar with the matter said.
Hiroshi Kishi, chairman of Japan’s national federation of fisheries cooperatives, JF Zengyoren, expresses his opposition to the release of contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into the sea, in Tokyo’s Minato Ward on Oct. 8, 2020.
Japan’s fishing industry firmly opposes release of tainted Fukushima water at sea
October 9, 2020
TOKYO — Japanese fishing industry representatives on Oct. 8 expressed their resolute opposition to the planned release of radioactively contaminated water that has built up following the 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into the sea, saying it would create damaging rumors and could negatively affect the industry into the future.
The comments came in a government hearing with Japan’s national federation of fisheries cooperatives, JF Zengyoren, and other representatives over the handling of the contaminated water and whether to dump it into the sea.
“Damaging rumors would inevitably occur, and the consensus of those in the fishing industry is that we are absolutely opposed to releasing it at sea,” JF Zengyoren Chairman Hiroshi Kishi stated at the meeting.
The hearing is expected to be the last scheduled gathering in a series of meetings that have been held since April. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has stated that he wants to decide on a policy for dealing with the contaminated water as soon as possible, and the government is set to reach a decision based on opinions heard to date.
At the meeting, Kishi warned that if the contaminated water from the nuclear plant were released into the sea “all the efforts of fishing industry workers to date would come to nothing.” He added, “It would be a setback and letdown for those in the fishing industry and could have a devastating impact into the future.” He said that he had heard from the government about measures to prevent damaging rumors, but stated, “Not releasing it (contaminated water) into the sea is simply the best approach.”
A seafood processing federation from Fukushima Prefecture was among the bodies represented at the meeting. Federation head Toshihito Ono commented, “I’ve worked on the front lines with regard to damage from rumors following the nuclear plant accident for nine years. Even when the fish are caught outside the prefecture, if the processing firm is in Fukushima then they’ll be stigmatized.”
After the meeting, State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Kiyoshi Ejima commented, “We’ve heard opinions from 43 people to date. We’d like to sort them out as soon as possible and reach a conclusion with governmental responsibility.”
The Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations and the national consumers federation Shodanren earlier expressed opposition to the release of contaminated water from the Fukushima plant at sea. The association of inns and hotels of Fukushima Prefecture, meanwhile, has expressed understanding of the move, as has the Central Federation of Societies of Commerce and Industry.
The Fukushima Prefectural Government has taken the position that the issue should be given careful consideration, while the head of the Fukushima Federation of Societies of Commerce and Industry said the water should be dealt with quickly and rumors dispelled, and that the central government should process the water responsibly.
(Japanese original by Suzuko Araki, Science & Environment News Department)