*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purposes only.
Tuesday, July 11, 2023
First floor lobby, METI Main Building
Visit to Fukushima
Yesterday, I inspected the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and the Okuma Analysis and Research Center of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA). I checked with my own eyes the efforts to ensure safety in preparation for the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea.
Later today, I will visit Fukushima Prefecture again and attend an expanded council meeting of the prefecture’s fishermen’s association. I will explain the efforts to ensure safety as well as the contents of the IAEA’s comprehensive report, which was published last week.
We will continue to engage in close communication, including today’s meeting, and accommodate various wishes and requests while attending to the local people’s concerns and misgivings. I hope to deepen our relationships of trust.
ALPS Treated Water
Q: I would like to ask you about ALPS treated water, which you have just mentioned. Regarding the discharge into the sea, there is strong opposition from some people in China and the Republic of Korea (ROK). Curbing the spread of fake news in and outside Japan and preventing reputational damage is becoming a critical issue. Please tell me specifically how the government intends to deal with this problem.
A: Regarding the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea, ensuring safety is the prerequisite. Yesterday, I personally checked the efforts to ensure safety. The IAEA’s comprehensive report concludes that the effects of the radiation on humans and the environment will be negligible. Based on the scientific evidence, we will continue to disseminate information, including the report’s contents, both domestically and internationally in a careful, easy-to-understand manner. By doing so, we hope to curb reputational damage.
Q: I would like to ask you once again about the treated water, more specifically about tritium contained in the water. Presumably, it has scientifically been proven that tritium has no effects on the human body. However, concerns over tritium have continued to linger. What explanations does the government intend to provide with respect to tritium?
A: Obviously, it is extremely difficult to remove tritium. We will continue to promote research and development for the removal of this substance. Regarding tritium, some media reports said that bioaccumulation occurs, but it has been acknowledged internationally, by organizations such as the ICRP, that tritium is not prone to bioaccumulation. That was also confirmed within the Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station’s tank.
Tritium ingested by the human body is excreted through the metabolism and decreases with the passage of time. On that point, too, I would like to provide careful explanations.