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14 June, 2016

Fukushima Prefecture Presents Petition to Government Concerning Recovery and Restoration

On June 9, Fukushima Prefecture compiled a written petition aimed at the national government regarding recovery and restoration since the March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants. Treating the five-year period starting in fiscal 2016 as "the moment of truth," it calls for sufficient sums to be earmarked in the national budget for measures related to the recovery from the disaster, including reactor decommissioning and water decontamination, as well as for rebuilding the lives of evacuees and dispelling false rumors, among other tasks.

The petition was personally presented on the same day to Vice Minister Yosuke Takagi of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) by the prefecture’s Governor Masao Uchibori. The ministry is responsible for many of the areas contained in the petition. Besides calling for nuclear safety, the report also outlines the so-called “Innovation Coast” vision pertaining to the restoration of the Hamadori region of the prefecture.

The petition also calls upon the national government to lend an ear to the will of local municipalities as it promotes further decontamination efforts, as well as “putting forth more definite guidelines” relating to ideas about a revision of the geographical areas designated as “difficult for evacuees to return to,” which the government is supposed to put forward by the summer.

As regards the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi NPPs, the petition called upon the government to carry out more thorough guidance and supervision of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), and for it to foster and secure human resources in a planned fashion so as to assure reasonable employment. In addition, it called for the working environment at Fukushima Daiichi to be improved, and for information to be disclosed more swiftly. Furthermore, it called for research into the processing and disposal of radioactive wastes stemming from the decommissioning, and for the waste to be properly disposed of outside the prefecture.

Also, in line with the realization of the Innovation Coast vision—the realization of which is timed to coincide with the holding of the Tokyo Olympics in July 2020—Fukushima Prefecture requests that the local Robot Test Field be used as a venue for demonstration tests on drones and the like during the International Robot Competition in 2020.

A new item added to the petition this time was comprehensive support to be given to Fukushima University’s disaster-recovery efforts, including the establishment of a new organization to educate and train the next generation of human resources engaged in agriculture, including the establishment of bases.

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