Tsushima Mayor Naoki Hitakatsu has said that he has decided not to apply to participate in the preliminary stage of a government process to select a location for disposing of highly radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.

Hitakatsu expressed his decision at a municipal council meeting on Wednesday, saying that “there is not enough consensus building among citizens.” There are strong concerns that accepting the request would harm the reputation of the city, located in Nagasaki Prefecture, and damage its tourism, fisheries and pearl cultivation industries.

Earlier this month, the Tsushima Municipal Assembly approved a petition by the local construction industry to conduct research on the city's suitability for hosting an underground disposal site, and was waiting on a final decision from Hitakatsu. In the assembly session on Sept. 12, 10 members voted in favor, while eight voted against.