Kishida visits Chernobyl for insights into bungled Fukushima cleanup

Kyodo

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday paid a visit to Chernobyl, site of the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine, to tour the wrecked nuclear power plant and areas around it.

Kishida, 56, is expected to look for insights into the cleanup there so Japan can make better efforts to deal with the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which suffered three core meltdowns after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami knocked out all power to the old, poorly protected facility.

Japan and Ukraine signed an agreement in April last year to cooperate in dealing with nuclear disasters.

Kishida toured the Chernobyl plant’s No. 4 reactor, which exploded in April 1986, when the country was part of the Soviet Union, and visited a deserted town nearby from which around 50,000 residents eventually fled to escape the radioactive fallout.

Ukrainian officials are also expected to teach Kishida, a Hiroshima native who majored in law, about the country’s decontamination and resettlement efforts and how compensation was extended to the displaced.

He is scheduled to meet with Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kozhara in Kiev on Monday and return to Japan on Tuesday.