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The government has approved plans to conduct preliminary tests in and around the town of Toyo, Kochi Prefecture, for burying high-level radioactive waste, a move the governor strongly opposes, 2 billion yen state subsidy or not.

The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry’s Natural Resources and Energy Agency endorsed the plans Wednesday on the location chosen by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan, the entity tasked with selecting a nuclear waste disposal site for long-term, deep underground storage of the radioactive waste now being tentatively stored at Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture.

The organization said it expects to begin the examination in May or June after offering explanations to local residents, and the exam is expected to take about two years.

Now that the exam will be conducted in Toyo, the state will provide a subsidy of up to 2 billion yen to the town and nearby municipalities.

To conduct a followup stage of tests, including drilling, approval would be needed by the prefecture, but Kochi Gov. Daijiro Hashimoto has objected strongly to the project.

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