TOKYO: Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), the operator of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, is still putting out questionable data on radiation leaks, causing confusion and a heightened sense of crisis, Japan’s nuclear regulator said.
The stakes have been raised as Japan makes a final pitch for Tokyo to host the 2020 Olympic Games, while a steady stream of bad news from Fukushima, the site of the worst atomic disaster in a quarter of a century, leaves officials frustrated by Tepco’s missteps and miscalculations.
“As I’ve said before, Tokyo Electric has not been properly disclosing the situation about the contamination and the levels of contamination,” Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), said yesterday.
“This has caused confusion domestically and internationally. Because of that, the Japanese government has a sense of crisis and I, personally, feel a little angry about it,” he said.
“I wouldn’t go as far as to say Japan’s reputation has been made worse, but releasing incorrect information about the radiated water problem has created trouble around the world,” Tanaka said.
Japan this week pledged nearly half a billion dollars to contain leaks and decontaminate radioactive water stored at Fukushima that threaten the clean-up from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the plant and brought Japan’s nuclear power industry to a virtual halt.
Officials have been keen to assure the world that Tokyo will be safe during the Olympics in seven years, if chosen. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe flies to Buenos Aires later yesterday from a Group of 20 meeting in St. Petersburg to lead Tokyo’s final pitch before the Olympic committee. Madrid and Istanbul are the other contenders.
“We would like to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games here in Tokyo and welcome athletes, people affiliated with the events and visitors from all over the world,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, adding that food and water in Japan is safe. REUTERS