For Katsunobu Sakurai, the former mayor of Minamisoma, a city along the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, there is no way releasing treated radioactive water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant would help the lives of local residents.

Discharging treated water from the plant only communicates a drive to promote and sustain nuclear power and profit, Sakurai said, as local fishers and farmers battle further reputational damage from the water release.

“It's strange that the government can arbitrarily decide the lives of citizens,” Sakurai said in an interview. “Especially considering that the power company caused the problem, the way to take responsibility should be in a manner that satisfies the citizens.