Three cities in Chiba Prefecture contaminated with radioactive materials have agreed to dispose of the toxic waste on their own if the central government fails to find a final disposal site, municipal officials said Monday.

On Aug. 4, the prefecture asked the cities of Kashiwa, Matsudo and Nagareyama to be ready in case the central government couldn't find a storage site for so-called designated waste by next March, as it originally planned. Designated waste is incinerated ash that contains more than 8,000 becquerels of radioactive material per kilogram.

Although the central government is responsible for disposing of the waste, Chiba has been temporarily storing it at a sewage plant in the city of Abiko. In all, the three cities produced 526 tons of the waste.

Should the government fail to locate a final disposal site by next March, the cities have agreed to take the waste back and dispose of it on their own.

Officials of the three cities confirmed to The Japan Times they are planning to submit related budget requests to municipal assemblies.

Kashiwa is planning to submit a ¥400 million request in September to the municipal assembly to build a storage site for 296 tons of waste, said official Sadahito Ono. But the exact site of the facility has yet to be determined, he added. He also said the city hasn't yet figured out how to respond to a possible backlash from residents.