Ja­pan tells diplo­mats no de­ci­sion yet on con­tam­i­nated Fukushima wa­ter

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Ja­pa­nese gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials on Wed­nes­day told diplo­mats they were still con­sid­er­ing op­tions for han­dling con­tam­i­nated wa­ter at Tokyo Elec­tric Power’s wrecked Fukushima nu­clear power plant amid wor­ries the wa­ter may be dumped into the ocean.

A mas­sive body of tainted wa­ter – more than 1 mil­lion tons as of Au­gust – is build­ing up at the plant, crip­pled by a 2011 earth­quake and tsunami, as op­er­a­tor Tokyo Elec­tric (Tepco) tries to cool the melted fuel cores by pour­ing wa­ter over them. Tepco has said it will run out of tank space by mid-2022.

The brief­ing for em­bassy of­fi­cials in Tokyo fol­lows a meet­ing in Au­gust of a gov­ern­ment panel of ex­perts look­ing into ways to solve the wa­ter prob­lem. The fi­nal gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion will be made based on a re­port by the panel.

Asked by one of the par­tic­i­pat­ing em­bassy of­fi­cials about the tim­ing of the panel de­ci­sion, Ja­pa­nese of­fi­cials said such tim­ing has not been fixed, ac­cord­ing to a me­dia brief­ing held later on the day.

The brief­ing for diplo­mats was at­tended by 27 em­bassy of­fi­cials from 22 coun­tries and re­gions, in­clud­ing South Korea and the US. No protests or de­mands have been made by the par­tic­i­pat­ing diplo­mats, ac­cord­ing to the me­dia brief­ing.

“With trans­parency in mind, Ja­pan will con­tinue pro­vid­ing the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity with in­for­ma­tion (on the Fukushima sit­u­a­tion),” Koichiro Mat­sumoto, the Ja­pa­nese For­eign Min­istry’s direc­tor of in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion, told diplo­mats at the start of the meet­ing, the out­set of which was open to me­dia.

The meet­ing comes af­ter South Korea, locked in a trade and ter­ri­to­rial rows with Ja­pan, last month sum­moned a se­nior of­fi­cial from the Ja­pa­nese Em­bassy in Seoul, to ask about Ja­pan’s stance on deal­ing with the Fukushima wa­ter.

But a Ja­pa­nese For­eign Min­istry of­fi­cial told re­porters that brief­ings for diplo­mats on the mat­ter have been held more than 100 times since the March 2011 disas­ter, and the one on Wed­nes­day was held to pass in­for­ma­tion dis­cussed at the lat­est gov­ern­ment panel meet­ing in Au­gust.

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