On April 5, Koichi Hagiuda, head of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), visited President Hiroshi Kishi of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations (Zengyoren) to exchange views and opinions on the handling of water treated by the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) at the Fukushima Daiichi of the Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO).
In April 2021, based on comprehensive studies by experts and specialists, reviews by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and engagement with parties concerned, the government of Japan published its basic policy on the handling of ALPS-treated water, including the aim of starting to release the water into the sea two years from then.
Thereafter, the government listened to opinions from industrial organizations, etc., in Fukushima and neighboring prefectures, as well as from the public. It then explained the situation to other countries, and, at the end of 2021, issued an action plan toward the steady implementation of the basic policy.
At the meeting with Minister Hagiuda, Zengyoren President Kishi reiterated his organization’s strong opposition to discharging the ALPS-treated water into the sea in circumstances where no understanding from those concerned with fisheries around the country had been obtained.
Based on the exchange of views, he then asked the government to continue thorough, sincere explanations to those concerned within the fishing industry and to present specific practical measures.
Minister Hagiuda, on the other hand, said that the Japanese government would be responsible to the end for taking necessary measures to counter unfounded fears and rumors as a result of discharging the water, and would direct TEPCO to endeavor to restore trust from the public.
The minister also reiterated that the government would “make unified efforts to take various measures” so that fishermen across the country would be able to continue fishing with confidence.
Minister Hagiuda went on to indicate that the government would respond to the following items enumerated by Zengyoren:
— Explanations to fishermen and the public
— Responses to unfounded fears and rumors
— Measures to secure safety
— Continuation of business for fishermen
— Consideration of the continued storage of the ALPS-treated water.
METI’s Agency for Natural Resources & Energy (ANRE) has allocated JPY 3 billion (USD 24 million) during the upcoming fiscal year (April 2023 to March 2024) for demand measures to expand the market for marine products following the offshore release of the ALPS-treated water.