Japan to Aid Fisheries amid Planned N-plant Water Release

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Fukushima. This photo was taken from a helicopter of the Yomiuri Shimbun on March 17, 2022.

TOKYO — Japan on Friday decided to start releasing treated radioactive water into the ocean from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant around spring or summer.

At a meeting of relevant Cabinet members, the government also revised its action plan, originally adopted in December 2021, to prevent reputational damage on fishery and other products from the water release from the northeastern Japan plant.

In addition, the government confirmed a policy of setting up a ¥50 billion fund to help fishers continue their operations.

The government adopted its basic policy about the water release in April 2021, saying that the operation would begin in about two years.

The government will start the release after a planned undersea tunnel to discharge the water is built and the Nuclear Regulation Authority finishes advance checks on the facility.

“We will take all possible measures to ensure safety and prevent reputational damage, listening to concerns of fishery operators and other locals concerned and carefully explaining details of the support measures,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told the meeting of Cabinet members.

The government earmarked necessary funding for the ¥50 billion fund in its fiscal 2022 second supplementary budget enacted last month.

The fund will be used to help fishery operators find new fishing grounds and reduce fuel costs to help them weather the expected long-term effects of the water release.