Image of flower beds using decontaminated soil

February 25, 2023
On February 24, some residents of Shinjuku Gyoen (Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo), one of the candidate sites for a demonstration project by the Ministry of the Environment to reuse decontaminated soil from the decontamination process following the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, submitted a request to the ministry to stop the project. The Ministry said, “We want as many people as possible to know the safety of the project. The gap between the two parties has not been closed.

 A citizens’ group consisting of local residents handed a letter to ministry officials at the House of Councilors building (Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo), demanding the suspension of the project, a detailed explanation of the project, and the holding of a public meeting to explain the project. About 50 people attended the meeting.

 According to the ministry, the number of visitors to Shinjuku Gyoen was approximately 1.2 million in FY2021, and before the Corona disaster, the number had remained at approximately 2 million.

 After the offer was made, Shintaro Fujii, Assistant Counselor in charge of the Ministry’s Environmental Restoration Project Office, told the press, “We will answer questions and opinions politely and consider holding additional explanatory meetings in consultation with Shinjuku City.

 Kunikazu Hirai, 70, one of the sponsors of the citizens’ group, told the press, “We are angry about the danger of radioactive soil coming to our neighborhood. The group was joined by a group that is working against the project in Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture, another candidate site for the project.

 Last December, the ministry announced that it was considering starting the project at three facilities under its control, including Shinjuku, Tokorozawa, and Tsukuba City in Ibaraki Prefecture. At Shinjuku Gyoen, where public access is restricted, the ministry plans to reuse decontaminated soil with a radioactivity level of less than 8,000 becquerels per kilogram to create flower beds. The start date has not yet been determined.