Abe soft-pedals assessment on Fukushima radioactive water leaks

October 22, 2013

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe toned down his rosy assessment of the Fukushima nuclear crisis that had helped Tokyo win its bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.

At the Lower House Budget Committee on Oct. 21, the prime minister’s words were less assuring concerning the ongoing radioactive water leaks plaguing the nuclear plant.

“The situation is under control all in all,” he said. “I believe that the impact of the contaminated water is blocked.”

On Sept. 7 in Buenos Aires, Abe told the International Olympic Committee that the contaminated water problem was “under control.” He also said radioactive water was “completely blocked” within the 300,000-square-meter harbor in front of the plant.

Tokyo was picked to host the 2020 Games after Abe’s assurances, beating out Madrid and Istanbul.

Abe’s new assessment of the Fukushima situation came after Yasuhisa Shiozaki of his Liberal Democratic Party and Yuichiro Tamaki of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan raised the issue at the committee meeting.

Tamaki mentioned the widespread mistrust of Abe’s evaluation given to the IOC.

“A survey conducted by a newspaper found that about 80 percent of respondents lacked faith (in Abe’s assessment),” Tamaki said.

Abe responded by saying the government should provide additional and more accurate information.

Tamaki also pointed out that the real problem facing the government is how to stem the outflow of radioactive water and preventing it from reaching the sea.

“What has been blocked is the impact of contaminated water, not the contaminated water itself,” he said.

Industry minister Toshimitsu Motegi echoed Abe’s assessment, saying the contaminated water remains in a certain area.

In the latest of a series of leaks, Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the plant, said Oct. 21 that radioactive water exceeding safety standards had overflowed barriers surrounding storage tanks as a result of heavy rainfall a day earlier and likely made its way to the ocean.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tells the International Olympic Committee that radioactive water is “completely blocked” inside a bay near the Fukushima nuclear plant on Sept. 7 in Buenos Aires. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tells the International Olympic Committee that radioactive water is “completely blocked” inside a bay near the Fukushima nuclear plant on Sept. 7 in Buenos Aires. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tells the International Olympic Committee that radioactive water is “completely blocked” inside a bay near the Fukushima nuclear plant on Sept. 7 in Buenos Aires. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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