The government on Monday asked a nationwide fisheries federation for permission to pump groundwater entering the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant complex into the ocean if it can keep the contamination level much lower than the legal limit.

In negotiations with the head of the National Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations, officials from Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said they plan to set strict operational procedures for the pumping plan to allay the fears of local fishermen, who think speculation from the project will worsen their prospects for recovery.