*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purposes only.
Friday, June 30, 2023
Press Conference Room, METI Main Building
Q: I have a question related to treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
The IAEA’s comprehensive report, which is scheduled to be compiled in the first half of this year, is expected to be issued in the near future. When the construction has been completed, pre-use inspection by the Nuclear Regulation Authority has been conducted, and the comprehensive report has been issued, the preconditions for starting the discharge of treated water will be satisfied. What are your thoughts as the minister in charge on the timing of the discharge?
Also, it cannot be said that a sufficient understanding has been obtained from the local fishermen. How do you intend to obtain the fishermen’s understanding during the limited time left?
A: That is a question related to ALPS-treated water.
As for the timing of the discharge of ALPS-treated water into the sea, we have indicated that it is expected to start around spring to summer this year, after the completion of construction of the facilities for the discharge, pre-use inspection by the Nuclear Regulation Authority following the construction, and the issuance of the IAEA’s comprehensive report.
On June 26, the construction of the facilities for the discharge was completed. At present, the facilities are undergoing pre-use inspection by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. Going forward, we understand that the IAEA’s comprehensive report that includes the agency’s final conclusion will be issued. As for the specific timing of the discharge of ALPS-treated water into the sea, the government as a whole will make a judgment after examining the status of efforts to ensure safety and prevent reputational damage.
It is important to explain the efforts to ensure safety and prevent reputational damage over and over again to the local stakeholders including fishermen, and it is also important to strive to adequately respond to their concerns and requests.
On June 10, I visited in person the chairmen of the fishermen’s associations in Fukushima, Miyagi and Ibaraki. On June 19, I met with the chairman of the fishermen’s association in Hokkaido, and on June 22, I met with Chairman Sakamoto of the National Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations. I explained the need for the discharge of ALPS-treated water into the sea and the government’s efforts and activities to ensure safety and provide support measures for maintaining the fishermen’s livelihoods. In exchanging opinions. I listened to the fishermen’s voices of concern and misgivings over reputational damage and the maintenance of livelihoods.
We would like to continue to engage in close communication and provide explanations over and over again, including explaining the content of the IAEA’s forthcoming comprehensive report in an easy-to-understand manner, and carefully respond to their opinions and requests.
Earlier, relevant ministers, including the Prime Minister, held a meeting and shared information about that situation. The Prime Minister instructed us to continue to make government-wide efforts to thoroughly ensure safety and prevent reputational damage, and provide careful explanations and disseminate information to the local stakeholders and the international community.
We will continue to engage in close communication with the fishermen, provide explanations repeatedly, and listen to their opinions.