Environment Minister Goshi Hosono repeated his request Saturday for temporary storage sites to be built in towns around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant for radiation-tainted soil and debris before its eventual disposal.
But representatives of Naraha, one of the three towns targeted, refused to budge, according to people who attended a meeting Saturday in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture. Naraha’s municipal authorities have been based in Iwaki since the nuclear crisis began.
Hosono said the final dump site will be built outside the prefecture, telling Naraha’s officials that “this is an issue that has to be resolved by nationwide efforts.”
But that wasn’t enough to convince them. “How could our children live in such an environment?” one official asked. “Is there any guarantee that government will secure the location for the final dump site?”
Naraha’s municipal assembly has unanimously adopted a resolution to oppose the construction of such a storage site in the town.
40,000 tons U.S.-bound
The Environment Ministry said more than 40,000 tons of debris from the March 2011 tsunami are expected to reach North America’s West Coast by February 2013.
The debris is part of the 1.33 million tons washed into the ocean from Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.
“Japan is not obligated to recover debris under international law, but we will hold talks with the U.S. and Canada to prevent it from causing problems, such as endangering ships,” a ministry official said Friday.
According to ministry estimates, 1.2 tons of half-submerged debris will reach the West Coast around October.