Local leaders criticize Abe for saying radioactive water leaks 'under control'

September 21, 2013

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

The governor of Tokyo and a local town assembly severely affected by the Fukushima disaster took issue with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's assurance to International Olympic Committee members earlier this month that the Fukushima nuclear crisis is "under control."

"We strongly protest (Abe's) irresponsible comment," the town assembly of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, said in an unanimously adopted opinion on Sept. 20 protesting Abe’s assertion.

Before Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Olympics, and with growing international concern over the leakage of tons of radioactive contaminated water from the plant into the sea, Abe told the International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7, "Let me assure you, the situation is under control."

Although the IOC appears to have bought it, Abe's statement has raised criticism back home.

Abe's statement has "grave problems that fly in the face of the fact,” added the opinion adopted by the Namie town assembly.

Two and a half years after the onset of the nuclear accident caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, all residents of Namie are still evacuees.

The opinion said the daily flow of 300 tons of polluted groundwater from the plant into the Pacific Ocean constitutes an "emergency."

It called on the central government to resolve the situation by retracting the government’s declaration in December 2011 that the crisis is under control.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda had cited the state of cold shutdown of the reactors.

The opinion also stated that more than 290 people from the town have died as a result of the evacuations.

"If Abe does not have an idea how stifling it is for people to be forced to evacuate, he should sincerely listen to what evacuees have to say," the opinion said.

In Tokyo, Governor Naoki Inose also countered Abe's claim that things are under control.

"(The leakage of contaminated water is) not under control necessarily at this stage,” Inose told reporters Sept. 20 at a regular news conference. "It was very important for the central government to demonstrate its resolve to get things done right by providing funds for it (at the IOC committee). Officials should strive toward resolving it."

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose at a news conference in Buenos Aires on Sept. 6 (The Asahi Shimbun)

Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose at a news conference in Buenos Aires on Sept. 6 (The Asahi Shimbun)

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  • Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose at a news conference in Buenos Aires on Sept. 6 (The Asahi Shimbun)

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