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The semipublic cooperative that runs an incinerator blamed for high dioxin levels in the soil around Nose, Osaka Prefecture, on Thursday budgeted 1.55 billion yen to begin tearing down the facility.

It will mark the first time a facility contaminated with dioxin will be torn down in Japan.

The 1.1 billion yen Toyono Incineration Center, located in Nose, Osaka Prefecture, and built in 1988, has been closed since June 1997. However, record-high concentrations of dioxin are reportedly still in its sewage water and soil.

The latest outlay, part of the cooperative’s supplementary budget for the current fiscal year that was approved by the town assembly Thursday, will be used to remove contaminated soil and other materials from the site, as well as to tear down the building itself.

Officials at the co-op said they were planning to sign a contract with the manufacturer of the incinerator regarding removal of the materials by the end of March.

How to best take the next step — removing the dioxin from water and soil around the site — is currently being discussed by the Health and Welfare Ministry. Preparatory work at the site may begin as early as March, the officials said.

The entire process is expected to take roughly six months.

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