Minister vows to counter misinformation over Fukushima water release

Industry minister Yasutoshi Nishimura pledged to make a greater effort to deal with misinformation regarding the release of treated water into the sea from a crippled nuclear plant during a visit to Fukushima Prefecture on Sunday.

Nishimura visited four coastal municipalities in the prefecture: the city of Minamisoma and the towns of Okuma, Futaba and Namie.

Speaking on the reputational damage caused by the release of the treated water from Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Nishimura told reporters in Minamisoma, “The industry ministry has secured necessary funds, and I’m responsible for dealing with the matter.”

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings started to release the water on Aug. 24. In the first round of the operations, which ended earlier this month, some 7,800 tons of treated water was discharged into the Pacific Ocean after being diluted with seawater to reduce concentrations of tritium, a radioactive substance.

“We will continue all-out efforts to ensure the safety” of the operations, Nishimura said.

The Fukushima No. 1 plant was severely damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, leading to an unprecedented triple reactor meltdown.

In Okuma, Futaba and Namie, Nishimura visited small local enterprises, asking about the challenges they faced.

Also in Minamisoma, Nishimura appeared in a live broadcast at a beach event held to promote post-disaster reconstruction that included top surfers from around the world.

“We want to advance reconstruction in cooperation with people all over the world,” he said.

The event was also attended by Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers of a surfing promotion group, including former Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi.

Koizumi stressed how safe that fishery products from Fukushima were, telling reporters that he will fight against claims that are not based on science over the treated water discharge from the Fukushima No. 1 plant.


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