Japan PM says no decision on Fukushima water release date
Japanese Premier Fumio Kishida said on Sunday his government has not yet decided when to begin releasing treated water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.
Media reports suggest that the discharge of some of the 1.34 million tons of water, which Japan insists is safe, could begin as soon as this month, despite anger from China and concern elsewhere.
Speaking at the Fukushima site, wrecked by a tsunami in 2011 in one of the world's worst atomic accidents, Kishida said he would first meet fishing industry officials to discuss their concerns.
"I must refrain from commenting on a concrete timing of the release into the ocean at this point, as the decision has to be made after the government as a whole looks at measures to do with safety and reputational damage (for the fishing industry)," Kishida told reporters.
"I hope to meet with fishermen, led by chairman (Masanobu) Sakamoto of Japan's fisheries cooperative federation, as early as tomorrow," the prime minister said.
Many Japanese fishermen are against the release, fearing that it will undo years of efforts to improve the industry's image in the wake of the 2011 catastrophe.
The water, equivalent to more than 500 Olympic swimming pools, has accumulated in the past 12 years from water used to cool three melted-down reactors combined with groundwater and rain.