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21 October, 2021

Kishida Makes First Visit to Fukushima Since Becoming Prime Minister

On October 17, Prime MinisterFumio Kishida visited Fukushima Prefecture, which had been struck by a massive earthquake and nuclear accident in March 2011. There, he toured decommissioning sites and elsewhere at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants(NPPs) belonging to the Tokyo Electric Power Co.(TEPCO)

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Regarding the release into the sea of water treated by the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS-treated water), he told the press that seeing the overwhelming number of storage tanks, he keenly realized the importance of the issue, adding that action could not be postponed.

In April, the former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had decided to release the water into the sea. TEPCO plans to start the release in the spring of 2023.

Referring to opposition to the water release by various local parties, Prime Minister Kishida emphatically said, “Working together with the IAEA, the Japanese government will act transparently and explain the safety of the water from a scientific point of view. We will make full efforts to eliminate concerns.”

Positioning NPPs as an option to supply electricity in a stable manner and at low cost, meanwhile, he said that the government would now concentrate on the issue of restarting reactor units currently suspended. Operation of all Japan’s fifty-four NPPs was stopped after the March 2011 accident, and only nine were operating as of March 2020.

At Tomioka Town in Fukushima Prefecture, the prime minister later took part in a roundtable dialogue with town residents who have permanently returned since having been evacuated a decade ago. He explained to them the government’s activities for reconstruction.

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