Osaka, Sept. 17 (Jiji Press)–Ichiro Matsui, mayor of the western Japan city of Osaka, suggested Tuesday that he may authorize the dumping of treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant into Osaka Bay if the central government proves that the water is harmless.
“If there is scientific proof (that the water is safe), and there are no effects (of radiation) compared with natural levels, then politicians must decide (to accept the water),” Matsui told reporters at the Osaka municipal government office.
Water building up at the triple meltdown-stricken Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. <9501> plant in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, is processed through equipment to remove radioactive substances. However, tritium, one of such substances, remains in the water even after the treatment, forcing the company to store the water in tanks built on plant premises.
The severe nuclear accident occurred due to a powerful earthquake and tsunami that mainly hit Fukushima and nearby areas in March 2011.
Former Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada came under fire earlier this month for saying there is no alternative but to release the tainted water into the ocean and dilute it.
“Support for disaster-stricken areas is only superficial if we are for it generally but against it in its details,” Matsui said, referring to concerns that releasing the water into Osaka Bay could give rise to unfounded rumors related to radiation.
“If it has no environmental harm scientifically, the whole country must recognize and deal with the problem,” he said, stressing that Osaka, one of the biggest cities in Japan, will approve the dumping of the water into the bay even without the consent of surrounding municipalities if the water is found to be harmless.