2023年10月12日木曜日

ACTIVISTS PROTEST JAPAN GOVERNMENT MOVE TO DISCHARGE FUKUSHIMA WATER

ACTIVISTS PROTEST JAPAN GOVERNMENT MOVE TO DISCHARGE FUKUSHIMA WATER

@Jackie San


Locals in northeastern Japan and anti-nuclear activists have expressed opposition to the government's decision Tuesday to begin discharging treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea later this week.


People in the fisheries industry in coastal areas of Fukushima Prefecture criticized the decision to start releasing the water Thursday, with one calling the move "a surprise attack" as it was made without first notifying the national fisheries federation.


Takashi Nakajima, who runs a supermarket in Soma in the prefecture that sells local seafood, expressed anger, saying, "It's like a scheme to release the water before public opposition can flare up."


The announcement came a day after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with the head of Japan's fishing federation in a bid to gain understanding for the plans, with the decision made despite concerns in northeastern Japan's Tohoku region over reputational damage.


Nakajima said he could never forget the way customers had flatly refused to sample local octopus in 2012, shortly after trial fishing began in nearby waters following the nuclear accident triggered by a devastating earthquake and tsunami the preceding year.


"Catch from the area won't sell, it will be a repeat of before," the 67-year-old said.


Meanwhile, a worker at a local produce market for tourists in Iwaki, Fukushima, said, "I'm not worried because they're probably releasing the water because it's okay to do so," calling for enhancing the attractiveness of the region.


Makoto Sakamaki, 38, who visited the shop from Saitama Prefecture near Tokyo, expressed the view that the lack of explanation by the government and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., is causing confusion.


But he added, "I will continue buying tasty Fukushima fish."


In Tokyo, anti-nuclear activists gathered outside the prime minister's office to oppose the government decision, with an anti-nuclear campaign group saying some 230 people joined the protest.


Participants urged the government to "listen to the voices of fishermen" and not to discharge "contaminated water into the sea."


"We don't know how long the water release will take and it will leave a debt for future generations," said Masashi Tani, director of the Japan Congress against A- and H-Bombs, speaking in front of the protesters.


"A concrete path toward decommissioning nuclear reactors must come first," Tani said.


Miwako Kitamura, a 55-year-old resident of Chiba Prefecture who attended the rally, said, "It is unacceptable that this decision has been forced through even with opposition from many of the people and from the fishing industry in Tohoku."

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@Jackie San

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