BUENOS AIRES – Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose, at his final news conference before the selection of the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympics, blasted media coverage of the Fukushima nuclear crisis and said people should not believe scare stories.
He also stressed that the central government has stepped in to address the toxic water problem at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 power plant as the International Olympic Committee gets ready to decide between Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid.
The crisis surrounding the plant has dogged every news conference in the last week by the Tokyo bid officials. Pointed questions were raised about the large quantities of radioactive groundwater seeping from Fukushima No. 1 into the Pacific.
Inose said he believes every necessary measure is now being taken.
“What happened in Fukushima in terms of the tsunami and the earthquake was an event that only takes place once every 1,000 years, the last time being in 869,” he said in answer to a question on if it was fair that IOC members had for the first time begun voicing reluctance last week to vote for Tokyo due to the nuclear crisis.
“With the leaking contaminated water what can we do? Well Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe said on Aug. 8 that Tepco should no longer be in charge and measures were put in place. On Sept. 3, ¥47 billion was set aside to tackle this project,” the governor said, referring to plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co.
“The entire government is taking responsibility. Furthermore, this contaminated water covers an area of 0.3 sq. km and we will be able to see the direction it takes.
“So much rumor has been conveyed by the media. When it was discussed by the Cabinet on Sept. 3 on what to do, the paper was published in both Japanese and English,” he continued. “First of all you should read the statement and then ask questions. Fact and basis should be reported. We will provide all the data and that will be fair.”
Anger at the source
Residents in Fukushima Prefecture have reacted angrily to remarks by Tokyo’s Olympic bid chief in the city’s final pitch to host the 2020 Games, saying he made light of their plight.
Tsunekazu Takeda said on Wednesday in Buenos Aires that Tokyo is safe because it is far from Fukushima No. 1.
A 37-year-old housewife, who evacuated to Tokyo from Fukushima after the nuclear crisis began in March 2011, said Takeda “emphasized that Tokyo is safe, but that only serves to show that the situation in Fukushima is serious.”