Six opposition parties agreed Wednesday to consider filing a censure motion against Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara for comments this week suggesting that Fukushima Prefecture would agree to host radioactive-waste dumps if it was offered enough cash.
The parties, led by the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, will make a final decision on the matter after seeing what Ishihara says Thursday in the Diet, senior Upper House members said.
But the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito decided in a meeting of their secretaries-general, Shigeru Ishiba and Yoshihisa Inoue, that they would oppose the motion if submitted. Two opposition parties are prepared to join them.
Ishihara apologized Tuesday for the comments, made Monday, in which he suggested money would ultimately decide whether local authorities accept the central government’s proposal to build storage facilities for contaminated soil removed from areas near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
Ishihara, the oldest son of former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, admitted his remarks might have upset people in Fukushima, but he refused to retract them, saying he had been speaking informally with reporters and not at an official news conference.
Ishihara said what he had meant to say was it is important to show the amount of compensation that would be paid to local governments for the storage sites.
Kazuya Shimba, the DPJ’s Diet affairs chief in the Upper House, told reporters Ishihara was making excuses and had not offered a real apology.
“It’s the kind of comment that reflects what Mr. Ishihara and Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe’s government really think,” Shimba said.