The industry ministry is slated to earmark ¥30 billion to tackle possible falls in fisheries product prices that could follow the planned release into the sea of treated radioactive water from the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
With the funds, to be set aside under the government's envisaged fiscal 2021 supplementary budget, the ministry aims to help fishers deal with potential reputational damage from the release of the treated water, which still contains tritium, a radioactive material, informed sources said.
The government plans to discharge the water into the ocean around spring 2023 after diluting it. The Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. plant in Fukushima Prefecture suffered a triple meltdown soon after being damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
In August this year, the government vowed to fully provide information about the safety of Japanese fisheries products and thoroughly investigate the impact of the water release on the marine environment, in a bid to prevent misinformation about radiation.
The ¥30 billion will be for preparing for any possible reputational damage to Japanese fisheries products, a government official said.
Specifically, a new fund will be created to support fishers over multiple years.
The fund will cover fisheries products caught across the country as adverse developments from misinformation over the water release, such as falls in exports, may hit operators in not only areas affected by the quake and tsunami, and the nuclear accident but also other areas.
The industry ministry will draw up screening criteria for giving aid. If the water release is confirmed to have caused price falls, the ministry will help fishing industry groups and others develop new sales channels.
The ministry is also considering providing aid to cover costs of frozen storage of fisheries products.
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