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Japan releasing contaminated water of Fukushima would only create another disaster

“The idea of releasing the contaminated water before it has been entirely treated for radioactivity is completely unacceptable. For the Japanese government to make a unilateral decision about a multilateral matter that endangers the health of not only its own citizens but also the citizens of its neighbors is both irresponsible and immoral.”
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The storage tanks for contaminated water from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdown
 
 
 
Aug.15,2019
If Japan releases 1.1 million tons of water contaminated with high-level radioactivity from storage tanks at the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, that water could reach the east shore of South Korea within a year. That was the bottom line of a press conference held in South Korea on Aug. 14 by Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany.
 
The problem is that discharging the contaminated water isn’t some vague possibility, but the option favored by the Japanese government. Last October, Japan’s nuclear regulator said it would allow the water to be released, provided that it’s diluted first.
 
The idea of releasing the contaminated water before it has been entirely treated for radioactivity is completely unacceptable. For the Japanese government to make a unilateral decision about a multilateral matter that endangers the health of not only its own citizens but also the citizens of its neighbors is both irresponsible and immoral.
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Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, talks about the dangers of Japan’s decision to release radioactively contaminated water from the 2011 Fukushima disaster during a press conference in Seoul on Aug. 14.
 
It’s obvious that the contaminated water will be carried by sea currents to the East Sea, with harmful effect. A study has found that the levels of radiation in the East Sea more than doubled during the five years after contaminated water was released for a brief time in 2011, during the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
 
The main reason the Japanese government hopes to discharge the contaminated water is cost. The massive amount of radioactive water produced since the 2011 accident at Fukushima is being stored in the reactor’s water tanks; at the current rate, they will overflow by March 2021. Attempting to skimp on the cost of building more tanks by releasing the contaminated water is the worst possible option, as it would trigger another catastrophe. According to Shaun Burnie, the only option is to build more water tanks while focusing on developing techniques for treating the radioactive particles.
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The route by which contaminated water discharged by Japan would eventually reach the eastern shores of Korea.
 
With the Tokyo Olympics just one year away, the Japanese government is working overtime to promote the claim that it’s moved beyond the Fukushima disaster. First it announced that dishes for athletes will be prepared with crops grown at Fukushima, and then it selected a spot just 20km away from the accident as the starting point for the Olympic torch. That has prompted not only leading global media outlets but even domestic ones to run multiple stories concluding that the Fukushima area isn’t safe from radioactive materials. Japan needs to call off this rash marketing campaign, which jeopardizes the safety of Olympic athletes and audiences.
The South Korean government has announced that it will respond proactively to the issue of contaminated water at Fukushima. Some see this as another way to pressure Japan in the two countries’ ongoing economic dispute. But the two are separate issues. We hope the government will deal with this issue with a firm, and consistent, attitude.
 
 
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August 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | 1 Comment

Fukushima: Nuclear-contaminated water raises 2020 Games site fears

They would love to get rid of all that accumulated radioactive water by dumping it into the sea before the venue of the 2020 Olympics. An ongoing media campaign pushing for it is relentlessly continuing….
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August 13th, 2019
Storage space is running out for Fukushima
Beginning late next July, Tokyo and several other sites around Japan will welcome elite athletes from around the world for the 2020 Summer Games. One of the sites carries with it a stigma that organizers are hoping to help heal — Fukushima.
Some scheduled baseball and softball events will take place at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium, located about 70 km northwest of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The site’s three reactors famously suffered a partial meltdown in the wake of the 2011’s Great East Japan Earthquake and the resulting 15-metre tsunami. The disaster was the second-worst since Chernobyl, leaving piles of melted radioactive fuel in the plant’s three reactors.
While it’s now estimated that 96 per cent of the power plant can be safely accessed without protective clothing, and no evacuation order has ever been in place for parts of the prefecture — including where the baseball stadium is located — the damage to the name has been done, according to locals.
“We are looked at like Chernobyl,” Saito Nobuyuki, who was born in Fukushima and now a sporting goods store there, told the New York Times. “It’s difficult to change.”
Yoshiro Mori, the 2020 organising committee president, hopes by hosting events at the site, that change can begin.
“By hosting Olympic baseball and softball events, Fukushima will have a great platform to show the world the extent of its recovery in the 10 years since the disaster,” Mori said, according to the Guardian.
There may be another hitch in the road to recovery, however, and it’s looming on the horizon for next year.
Tremendous amounts of water flooded the reactors in the wake of the disaster, both from the tsunami itself and from water added to cover the melted reactors and allow them to cool as part of the efforts to clean up the site and decommission the plant. Since then, groundwater has also infiltrated the site. All of this water has been contaminated by radioactive substances, like cesium and tritium. While the cesium can be removed via processing, tritium generally remains, meaning the still-contaminated water must be stored.
TEPCO, the utility which operated the reactor, has installed about 1,000 large storage tanks at the site to hold the contaminated water; currently, more than 1.05 million tons of radioactive water are being stored in the tanks, and roughly 150 tons are added every day.
TEPCO continues to install new tanks, but according to the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, “space limitations mean that by the end of 2020, a maximum storage capacity of about 1.34 million tons will be reached.” Officials have added that if the groundwater infiltration was decreased, it will be possible to stretch that date until summer 2022.
While more tanks can be installed, a long-term solution is still being sought and, so far, most of them aren’t going over well with the locals.
One suggestion before the central government is to dilute the water after processing and gradually release it into the Pacific. Another is to build a long-term storage facility near the plant site. Fukushima residents, and fishermen in particular, have expressed strong opposition to both ideas, not over fears of the wastewater itself but because of the negative publicity and continuing stigma that would damage their livelihoods.
Tritium — the contaminant left in the water after treatment — is a relatively weak source of radiation that doesn’t pose much threat to humans, though in extremely large quantities impacts to health are possible. It’s commonly used in glow-in-the-dark lighting and signs.
Setting a deadline on the current storage situation puts additional pressure on Japanese authorities and the public to reach a consensus.
“When we talk about Fukushima’s reconstruction, the question is if we should prioritize the decommissioning at the expense of Fukushima people’s lives,” Naoya Sekiya, a University of Tokyo professor of disaster social science, told the Associated Press. “The issue is not just about science.”

August 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Radiation Levels Big Concern as Japan Preps for 2020 Olympics

August 13, 2019
The 2020 Olympics are set to take place in Japan, but there is a growing concern about the safety of those heading overseas. In the time following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan saw the release of harmful radioactive pollutants or radionuclides, such as iodine‑131, cesium‑134, cesium‑137, strontium‑90, and plutonium‑238.
This resulted in radioactive contamination throughout northeastern Japan, but after eight years, members of the local and central government have said that the radiation is no longer a concern. Unfortunately, that’s not entirely accurate. The steps taken by the government to make the environment safer are viewed as effective by some, but there is far more to the story. According to The Diplomat, the radiation hasn’t entirely disappeared from the environment. Instead, it’s been moved to other locations.
One such process of decontamination has actually consisted of collecting and removing radioactive pollutants. The radionuclides are then placed in black vinyl bags, which, in theory, should impede the risk of rescattering residual radioactivity. The report continues by providing evidence of this process. There are currently mountains of black plastic bags, filled with contaminated soil or debris, that can be seen in many parts of Fukushima.
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Eat and cheer. I say what a shame, but the rice made right next to the pile of radiation contaminated soil. It is not a bad reputation and I can not eat it because I am scared.#Fukushima nuclear accident#Radiation pollution
Unfortunately, this fix of sticking the radionuclides inside the bags only appears to be a temporary solution that will ultimately need to be addressed once again. For example, some of the vinyl bags are now starting to break down due to the build-up of gas released by rotten soil. Plants and flowers have also started to grow inside the bags. With nowhere to expand, these plants are breaking through the bags and exposing the radioactive materials to the atmosphere. At this point, it is far more likely that the weather will distribute the radionuclides once again.
Additionally, there have been countless monitoring posts installed throughout Fukushima, which display the current atmospheric level of radiation. Measurements are taken from different locations and then combined to create an average level for the city. According to these posts, the levels of radiation have significantly fallen.
That being said, The Diplomat reports that there are currently no monitoring posts in the forests and mountains. These areas make up 70 percent of the Fukushima prefecture, but the radiation levels are not being monitored. The other concern is that the monitoring posts only measure gamma rays and ignore radionuclides, which are very harmful if swallowed or ingested.
With the Olympics approaching, the belief is that the radiation is lowering and that the athletes will not be in danger. However, reports by The Diplomat paint a far more troubling picture. Will the events proceed as planned, or will adjustments have to be made as 2020 nears?

August 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

South Korea to actively deal with radioactive water discharge from Fukushima plant

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This photo, provided by Kyodo news agency on March 8, 2019, shows the storage tanks keeping radioactive water from the Fukushima meltdown, in Fukushima, Japan.
 
August 13, 2019
SEOUL, Aug. 13 (Yonhap) — South Korea will actively seek ways to deal with Japan’s planned discharge of water contaminated as a result of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown, Seoul’s foreign ministry said Tuesday, amid concern storage space will soon run out.
 
The treatment of radioactive water stored in tanks in Fukushima has drawn international concern in recent months following reports that the Japanese government is considering releasing the water into the Pacific Ocean.
 
Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility company managing the storage, has said it will run out of space to store the toxic water in three years. Greenpeace warned in a report early this year that South Korea will be among countries particularly affected by the discharge into the sea.
 
“Our government puts top priority on the health and safety of our citizens, and we plan to actively ask Japan to disclose information and to provide us with a concrete stance on the current management system and disposal plans,” ministry spokesman Kim In-chul told a regular press briefing.
Seoul has proposed that Tokyo hold bilateral and multilateral talks over the matter since the government became aware in August 2018 of a plan to discharge the water, Kim added.
 
Two months later, the government sent Tokyo an official statement detailing national concerns and requests in relation to the matter, and continued negotiations over the issue at various levels, bilaterally as well as through multilateral channels, according to the ministry.
 
The ministry said Japan has only maintained that the final decision for disposal of the radioactive water is still under review and that it will announce it to the international community when it’s ready.
 
“If it’s deemed necessary, we will also closely cooperate with our neighbors in the Pacific that are also feared to be affected, so as to actively cope with the problem of the discharge of contaminated water,” Kim said.
 
In that regard, the government is mulling over other concrete actions such as raising the matter at the IAEA General Conference to be held in Vienna next month and the South Korea-China-Japan Top Regulators’ Meeting on Nuclear Safety, which is to take place in China in November.
 
While there’s no other country yet to formally take issue with Japan’s reported move to release contaminated water, the environmental authorities of many Pacific nations are apparently keeping a close eye on it, a ministry official said later on background.
 
International environmental groups including Greenpeace are voicing concern about the issue as well, the official added.
 
Asked about the possibility of South Korea boycotting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in connection with the matter, the ministry spokesman avoided a direct answer.
 
Seoul and Tokyo are locked in an escalating economic and political row stemming from the longstanding issue of compensation for wartime forced labor.
 
Since 2013, South Korea has banned all seafood imports from eight Japanese prefectures near Fukushima, after Japan announced a leak of contaminated water.
 
Tokyo sought to challenge Seoul’s decision by lodging a complaint at the World Trade Organization (WTO). In April this year, the WTO finalized the ruling in favor of Seoul, saying the measures do not amount to unfair trade restrictions or arbitrary discrimination. (Yonhap)

 

August 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Can 2020 Summer Olympics help Fukushima rebound from nuclear disaster?

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A deserted street inside the exclusion zone close near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Most areas around the plant are still closed to residents due to radiation contamination from the 2011 disaster.
Aug. 12, 2019
FUKUSHIMA, Japan — An hour north of Tokyo by way of bullet train, the land is lush and green, framed by thickly wooded mountains in the distance.
This vast rural prefecture in northeast Japan was once renowned for its fruit orchards, but much has changed.
“There has been a bad reputation here,” a local government official said.
Since the spring of 2011, the world has known Fukushima for the massive earthquake and tsunami that killed approximately 16,000 people along the coast. Flooding triggered a nuclear plant meltdown that forced hundreds of thousands more from their homes.
As the recovery process continues nearly a decade later, organizers of the 2020 Summer Games say they want to help.
Under the moniker of the “Reconstruction Olympics,” they have plotted a torch relay course that begins near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant and continues through adjacent prefectures — Miyagi and Iwate — impacted by the disaster. The region will host games in baseball, softball and soccer next summer.
“We are hoping that, through sports, we can give the residents new dreams,” said Takahiro Sato, director of Fukushima’s office of Olympic and Paralympic promotions. “We also want to show how far we’ve come.”
The effort has drawn mixed reactions, if only because the so-called “affected areas” are a sensitive topic in Japan.
Some people worry about exposure to lingering radiation; they accuse officials of whitewashing health risks. Critics question spending millions on sports while communities are still rebuilding.
“The people from that area have dealt with these issues for so long and so deeply, the Olympics are kind of a transient event,” said Kyle Cleveland, an associate professor of sociology at Temple University’s campus in Japan. “They’re going to see this as a public relations ploy.”
It was midafternoon in March 2011 when a 9.0 earthquake struck at sea, sending a procession of tsunamis racing toward land.
The initial crisis focused on the coastline, where thousands were swept to their deaths.
Another concern soon arose as floodwaters shut down the power supply and reactor cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Three of the facility’s six reactors suffered fuel meltdowns, releasing radiation into the ocean and atmosphere.
Residents within a 12-mile “exclusion zone” were forced to evacuate; others in places such as Fukushima city, about 38 miles inland, fled as radioactive particles traveled by wind and rain.
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The ruined Unit 3 reactor building at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on Sept. 15, 2011.
The populace began to question announcements from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) about the scope of the contamination, said Cleveland, who is writing a book on the catastrophe and its aftermath.
“In the first 10 weeks, Tepco was downplaying the risk,” he said. “Eventually, they were dissembling and lying.”
The company has been ordered to pay millions in damages, and three former executives have been charged with professional negligence. Crews have removed massive amounts of contaminated soil, washed down buildings and roads, and begun a decades-long process to extract fuel from the reactors’ cooling pools.
All of which left the area known as the “Fruit Kingdom” in limbo.
It is assumed that low-level radiation increases the chances of adverse health effects such as cancer but the science can be complicated.
Reliable data on radiation risks is difficult to obtain, said Jonathan Links, a public health professor at Johns Hopkins University. And, with cosmic rays and other sources emitting natural or “background” ionizing radiation, it can be difficult to pinpoint whether an acceptable threshold for additional, low-level exposure exists at all.
In terms of athletes and coaches visiting the impacted prefectures for a week or two during the Olympics, Links said the cancer risk is proportional, growing incrementally each day.
The Japanese government has raised what it considers to be the acceptable exposure from 1 millisievert to 20 millisieverts per year. Along with this adjustment, officials have declared much of the region suitable for habitation, lifting evacuation orders in numerous municipalities. Housing subsidies that allowed evacuees to live elsewhere have been discontinued.
But some towns remain nearly empty.
“People are refusing to go back,” said Katsuya Hirano, a UCLA associate professor of history who has who has spent years collecting interviews for an oral history. “Especially families with children.”
Their hesitancy does not surprise Cleveland. Though research has led the Temple professor to believe conditions are safe, he knows that residents have lost faith in the authorities.
“That horse has left the barn,” he said. “It’s not coming back.”
A narrow highway leads west, out of downtown Fukushima, arriving finally at a 30,000-seat ballpark that rises from the farmlands.
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The Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium.
Azuma Baseball Stadium was built in the late 1980s with a modernist design, blockish and concrete. Prefecture officials have begun renovations there.
“We changed from grass to artificial turf,” Sato said. “We’re updating the lockers and showers.”
The work is coordinated from a small office in the local government headquarters, where two-dozen employees tap away at computer keyboards and talk on phones, sitting at desks that have been pushed together.
Tokyo 2020’s initial bid included preliminary soccer competition at Miyagi Stadium, in a prefecture farther north of the nuclear plant. Six baseball and softball games were relocated to Azuma during later discussions with the International Olympic Committee.
“We made a presentation about the radiation situation and how to deal with it,” Sato recalled. “They understood and we think that’s why they got on board with this idea of the ‘Reconstruction Olympics.’ ”
Fukushima has spent $20 million on preparations over the past two years, he said, adding that his office has heard complaints from “a segment of the population.”
With infrastructure repairs continuing throughout the region, evacuee Akiko Morimatsu has a skeptical view of the Tokyo 2020 campaign.
“They have called these the ‘Reconstruction Games,’ but just because you call it that doesn’t mean the region will be recovered,” Morimatsu said.
Concerns about radiation prompted her to leave the Fukushima town of Koriyama, outside the mandatory evacuation zone, moving with her two young children to Osaka. Her husband, a doctor, remained; he visits the family once a month.
“The reality is that the region hasn’t recovered,” said Morimatsu, who is part of a group suing the national government and Tepco. “I feel the Olympics are being used as part of a campaign to spread the message that Fukushima is recovered and safe.”
Balance this sentiment against other forces at work in Japanese culture, where the Olympics and baseball, in particular, are widely popular. Masa Takaya, a spokesman for the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, insists that “sports can play an important role in our society.”
In Fukushima, a city of fewer than 300,000, colored banners fly beside the highway amid other signs of anticipation.
Elderly volunteers, plucking weeds from a flower bed at the train station, wear pink vests that express their support for the Games. On the eastern edge of town, a handful of workers attend to Azuma Stadium.
Dressed in white overalls, they walk slowly across the field, stopping every once in a while to bend down and pick at the pristine turf. Sato remains optimistic.
“Everyone’s circumstances are different,” he said. “Maybe there will be some people who come back to Fukushima because of this.”

August 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Ballooning costs give lie to notion nuclear power is cheapest energy

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From left: The No. 5, No. 6 and No. 7 reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture
August 12, 2019
Soaring costs borne by operators of nuclear power plants to safeguard their facilities against natural disasters and terrorist attacks suggest the government is wrong in its longstanding contention that nuclear power is the nation’s cheapest energy source.
A study by The Asahi Shimbun found that the overall estimate for the cost of safety measures by 11 operators stood at 5.074 trillion yen ($48.32 billion) as of July. The operators include those whose nuclear facilities are still under construction.
The combined figure for the 11 companies represents an increase of about 660 billion yen from a year earlier.
The Asahi Shimbun has tallied total estimated safety costs by nuclear plant operators since 2013.
As of January 2013, the combined total was 998.2 billion yen.
New safety regulations implemented after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster obliged power companies to equip their facilities with additional safeguard measures to prevent a severe accident triggered by a powerful earthquake, tsunami, fire, terrorist attack and other emergencies.
The Fukushima disaster was triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake, which generated towering tsunami that knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co., setting off a triple meltdown.
The new regulations went into effect in 2013.
TEPCO’s estimated cost to implement safeguard measures doubled to 969 billion yen in the latest study due to steps to counter liquefaction and terrorist strikes at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant’s No. 6 and No. 7 reactors in Niigata Prefecture.
Kansai Electric Power Co. reported an additional 130.8 billion yen as the cost of building an emergency facility to respond to a terrorist attack on its Oi nuclear plant’s No. 3 and No. 4 reactors in Fukui Prefecture.
In the survey, The Asahi Shimbun for the first time asked power companies about their most recent estimates for countermeasures against terrorism and the previous estimate when they applied for certification of their anti-terror facilities by the government’s Nuclear Regulation Authority.
The responses showed that anti-terror measures are proving to be two times to five times more expensive than the companies initially envisaged.
Kyushu Electric Power Co. replied that such steps for the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at its Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture grew five-fold from 43 billion yen to 220 billion yen.
Kansai Electric Power Co. said it plans to spend 125.7 billion yen on anti-terror measures for the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at its Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture, up from 69.1 billion yen.
In the case of Shikoku Electric Power Co., the utility said measures to safeguard the No. 3 reactor at its Ikata nuclear plant in Ehime Prefecture from a terror attack surged from 32 billion yen to 55 billion yen.
Shikoku Electric said the increase is due to a change in the design and construction method following the NRA’s safety examination.
Of the 11 companies surveyed, six did not include costs for terrorism countermeasures in their estimates for safeguard mechanisms, which means that overall costs for safety measures, including those against terrorism, can only grow.
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Nine reactors at five nuclear facilities are now back online after clearing the more stringent standards set by the NRA.
The safety cost for each of those reactors ranged from 130 billion yen to 230 billion yen.
It appears likely that plans by Chugoku Electric Power Co., Tohoku Electric Power Co. and Japan Atomic Power Co. to restart reactors will cost each of the operators more than 300 billion yen per reactor in safety measures, if the cost of implementing terrorism countermeasures is added.
With the ballooning safety costs, the government’s argument that nuclear energy is cheaper than hydro power and coal is increasingly in doubt.
In 2015, a government study put the cost to generate 1 kilowatt-hour of energy for hydro power at 11 yen, coal-fired thermal power at 12.9 yen and nuclear power at 10.3 yen or more.
The government study estimated the cost for safety measures per nuclear reactor at about 100 billion yen.
The power generation cost for a reactor will rise 0.6 yen for an increase of every 100 billion yen that will be set aside for safeguard measures.

August 16, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Swim marathon: Tokyo 2020, FINA watching water quality, temperature

In 2011, Professor Kodama of Tokyo University  had found Tokyo’s Bay water to be  radiation contaminated. 8 years later I doubt that the only danger in that water is high levels of e-coli bacteria…
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August 11, 2019
Athletes voiced concerns over water quality and temperature at a marathon swimming test event for Tokyo 2020 Sunday, as officials vowed to monitor the situation closely in the run-up to the games.
“That was the warmest race I’ve ever done,” said three-time Olympic medallist Oussama Mellouli from Tunisia after completing the 5km men’s competition.
“It felt good for the first 2km then I got super overheated,” added the 35-year-old, who won gold in the 10km swim at the London Olympics in 2012.
The event started at 7am with the air temperature already over 30 degrees as the Japanese capital swelters through a deadly heatwave.
“The water temperature was high so I’m a bit concerned about that,” said Yumi Kida from Japan, who said she guzzled iced water before the race in an effort to reduce her body heat.
International Swimming Federation (FINA) rules state that athletes may not race when the water temperature exceeds 31 degrees and FINA’s executive director Cornel Marculescu said competitors’ wellbeing was top priority.
Marculescu said an external body would be set up in conjunction with Tokyo 2020 organisers to monitor both water quality and temperature in the run-up to the games and the results could affect the timing of the marathon swimming event.
“Based on this information, we will decide the time the event will start. Could be 5am, could be 5:30am, can be 6am, can be 6:30am — depends on the water temperature,” he told reporters.
“Working with a specialised company like we are going to do here in Tokyo, we will have the right information to take the right decision.”
Hot weather issues have become the biggest headache for Tokyo organisers, who have already moved up the start time of several events including the marathon in a bid to mitigate the effects of the blistering heat of the Japanese summer.
– ‘A little stinky’ –
In terms of water quality, David Gerrard from FINA’s medical committee said readings from the test event would not be ready for 48 hours but previous results gave cause for optimism.
“What we have had are readings fom the last month, daily readings that have given us very clear indications of the water quality, which has been good,” he said.
Organisers are desperate to avoid the embarrassment of the Rio Olympics in 2016 when the pool used for diving events turned an unsettling shade of green overnight.
Brazilian officials also had to scramble to clean up the bay used for sailing and windsurfing that was plagued by sewer bacteria and filthy with rubbish.
In October 2017, Tokyo 2020 organisers were left red-faced after tests revealed levels of e-coli bacteria more than 20 times higher than international standards, sparking doubts about the venue’s safety.
At the time, the organising committee blamed prolonged summer rain that had brought pollutants from offshore for the high readings between late July and early September.
A year later, organisers said that tests using underwater “screens” to filter the water had successfully reduced bacteria levels at the venue, which will also host triathlon.
They tested single and triple-layer screens — some 20 metres (66 feet) long and three metres wide — and found that both were effective in bringing bacteria down to safe levels although the triple screen, expected to be employed during games time, worked best.
Japanese swimmer Kida said the water was “a little stinky, and the clarity was not very good so I really want to improve the quality.”
The event will be held in Odaiba, a Tokyo bay area with a backdrop of the city and the “Rainbow Bridge” that links the area to downtown.
On clear days Mount Fuji is visible and the area is also noteworthy for a replica Statue of Liberty.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Tepco toughens stance toward nuclear disaster damages settlement

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Plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking damages compensation over the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown crisis walk toward the Tokyo District Court on Aug. 2.
Aug 11, 2019
FUKUSHIMA – Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. has become significantly more reluctant since last year to accept a government body’s recommendations for a settlement of damages claims by people affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, government officials and lawyers involved said.
The company’s tougher stance in negotiating out-of-court compensation settlements could force those affected to resort to lengthy and costly legal actions.
 
Lawyers representing residents of Fukushima say some have given up on taking their claims to court due to legal costs, after Tepco rejected the body’s settlement proposals.
Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which was triggered by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, the government established the dispute resolution body to broker settlements between Tepco and people seeking compensation.
Three nuclear reactors at Tepco’s Fukushima No. 1 plant suffered meltdowns, which led to the contamination of wide areas of Fukushima Prefecture.
According to the government, more than 31,000 people who evacuated from their homes in Fukushima are still living outside the prefecture.
In the process, called alternative dispute resolution, the body proposes settlement terms based on government guidelines regarding the types of damages and costs eligible for compensation.
Tepco said in 2014 it would respect the body’s reconciliation proposals even though the company is under no legal obligation to do so.
In 2018, the body terminated 49 settlement proposals due to Tepco’s refusal to accept them, including nine cases brought by employees of the power company and their relatives, its officials said. The cases involved at least 19,000 residents near the plant, they said.
The number was a significant increase from 61 in the four years through 2017. All of those during the four-year period were cases in which Tepco employees or their family members sought compensation. In many of the rejected cases, Tepco refused to pay damages because the company saw the recommended compensation as unjustifiable under the government guidelines, the officials said.
The officials said the body decided to discontinue the resolution processes partly to encourage residents to consider legal action.
One of the lawyers representing Fukushima residents said, “Tepco may be concerned that uniformly compensating residents according to settlement proposals would lead to a revision of the government guidelines to its disadvantage.”

August 12, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Contaminated water tanks in Fukushima will be full in 3 years

All part of the now massive media PR campaign to prepare the public opinion for the dumping of that accumulated radioactive water into the Pacific ocean. Let’s face it, for them to dump it into the sea is the quickest, cheapest conveniency. And they’d love to have it out of the way before the 2020 Olympics venue.
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August 9, 2019
By the summer of 2022, storage tanks holding processed water on the grounds of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant will become completely full, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co.
That marks the first timetable the utility has set on when capacity will be reached in the tanks holding the water processed to remove most radioactive substances.
Analysts said setting a deadline for the tank capacity allows TEPCO to push the central government and other entities to take action on the volume of contaminated water that continues to accumulate at a rate of about 150 tons a day.
TEPCO officials are expected to present their estimates at an Aug. 9 meeting of a subcommittee under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry looking into dealing with the contaminated water.
The triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 plant after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami produced piles of melted nuclear fuel in three reactors at the plant.
The melted fuel continues to be cooled, but that results in the build-up of water contaminated with high levels of radioactive substances.
Groundwater has also seeped into the reactor buildings, increasing the high volume of contaminated water.
While most of the radioactive substances are being removed through processing equipment, tritium remains in the processed water, which must be stored.
Large storage tanks have been constructed on the grounds of the Fukushima No. 1 plant, which currently store about 1.05 million tons of processed water.
TEPCO continues to install new storage tanks, but space limitations mean that by the end of 2020, a maximum storage capacity of about 1.34 million tons will be reached.
Utility officials claim that even if groundwater volume was decreased, the storage tanks would become full of processed water by about summer 2022.
One option being considered by the central government is to dilute the processed water and gradually release the water into the ocean. But local fishermen are fiercely opposed on the grounds the negative publicity generated by that action would hurt their future sales.
Sources said the industry ministry was planning to present another option of storing the processed water for a long period outside the Fukushima plant site. Fukushima fishermen had requested that such an option be considered to avoid negative publicity that would hurt their livelihoods.
However, TEPCO officials have expressed doubts about whether that option will ever get off the table. For one thing, finding a community that would be willing to host such a storage site would be extremely difficult. TEPCO officials also said problems would arise in transporting the processed water from the Fukushima site to a new location, including the possibility that radiation could be released during the transportation process.
After the ministry subcommittee considers how to deal with the processed water, the central government will decide on a basic plan after coordinating with other relevant parties, including the local governments involved.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima students speak on 2011 disaster in Berlin

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August 09, 2019
BERLIN (Jiji Press) — Nine high school students from Fukushima Prefecture gave speeches in Berlin on Thursday about their experiences of the March 2011 triple disaster that hit hard the prefecture.
Addressing German high school students, the nine from Fukushima recounted in English what they experienced in the disaster, in which a huge earthquake and deadly tsunami struck, followed by a meltdown accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
An audience of several hundred listened attentively.
Kae Togawa, 15, from Namie, most of which is still in a no-entry zone due to high radiation levels, talked about her experience of being bullied because of the accident, with tears in her eyes.
“I was told such bad words many times [as] ‘You are an evacuee, you get compensation. You bring in radiation,’” Togawa said.
Sumire Kuge, 16, from Koriyama, said: “I can’t forget many foreigners who I watched on the news. They aren’t Hollywood stars or [a] president. But they helped our country.”
“I want to be like them. One thing to learn is if I have courage, I can help someone,” Kuge added. She received big applause.
The speeches were given as part of a high school student exchange project between Fukushima and Germany led by the Japanese nonprofit organization Earth Walkers. Under the project, students from Fukushima will stay in Germany for two to three weeks and learn about renewable energy and other topics.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi’s radioactive water to run out of tanks in 2022

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Storage tanks at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant hold more than 1 million tons of tainted water.
Fukushima’s contaminated water to run out of tanks in 2022
With Olympics approaching, Tokyo hesitant to release into ocean
August 09, 2019
TOKYO — Tanks containing runoff from the devastated Fukushima nuclear plant are likely reach capacity as early as the summer of 2022, a new forecast shows, putting pressure on Japan’s government to dispose of the wastewater.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has leaked water laced with radioactive isotopes since its reactors suffered meltdowns after a crippling March 2011 tsunami.
Various solutions have been proposed, but one that a panel of experts called in 2016 the fastest and least costly — releasing water into the ocean — is opposed by locals who fear it will hurt the image of the region’s seafood.
The 960 tanks located at the site now hold roughly 1.15 million tons of water. Plant administrator Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings, or Tepco, expects to secure enough tanks to hold 1.37 million tons by the end of 2020.
An average 170 tons of contaminated water was produced each day during fiscal 2018, mostly as the result of groundwater flowing into the ruined plant.
Tepco, which counts a government-backed fund as its top shareholder following a 2012 bailout, aims to reduce the volume to 150 per day next year. Even at that reduced level, the tanks would reach full capacity in either the summer or fall of 2022, Tepco estimates.
This marks the first projection that storage at the plant will reach its limit. The findings will be presented at an expert panel meeting on Friday.
Tepco installed equipment to pump out and decontaminate the water. But the treated water still contains tritium, a radioactive hydrogen isotope that also occurs in minute amounts in nature.
The utility has been criticized for its handling of the plant after the disaster, with its so-called ice wall, a costly, complex technique of freezing the soil to keep the leaks from reaching the ocean, questioned over its effectiveness.
A panel commissioned by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry considered a plan to dilute and release the water into the ocean. Toyoshi Fuketa, chairman of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, described the approach “most logical.”
But with the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo approaching, the government is worried about a potential blow to its international reputation by releasing the water into the sea. It appears to be dragging its feet on a decision.
In his final pitch to secure the Games six years ago, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had told the International Olympic Committee that the situation at Fukushima was “under control.”
A number of Japan’s trading partners banned imports of seafood from Fukushima and other areas after the nuclear disaster. These restrictions added to the economic pain for the region’s fisheries industry, which was recovering from the physical damage of the tsunami.
 
 
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In this April 14, 2017 file photo, tanks storing radioactive contaminated water are seen at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture.
Tanks storing radioactive water in Fukushima to be full by 2022: TEPCO
August 9, 2019
TOKYO (Kyodo) — It is estimated tanks storing water contaminated with low-toxicity radioactive tritium at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant will be full by the summer of 2022, the plant operator said Friday.
At a meeting of a government panel on the same day, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. was unsupportive of the idea to replace the existing tanks with larger vessels as a long-term storage solution for water that was contaminated when cooling the plant’s cores.
Local fishermen and residents support the storage solution, preferring it to any plan that would see the water released into the sea out of fear over the potential impact on fish stocks.
A nuclear expert from the International Atomic Energy Agency, however, said in 2018 that a controlled discharge of such contaminated water “is something which is applied in many nuclear facilities, so it is not something that is new.”
The treated water remains tainted with the low toxicity tritium as a result of cooling the plant’s reactors, which suffered core meltdowns following the 2011 earthquake-tsunami disaster. The water is regarded as relatively harmless to humans.
TEPCO also said storing the tanks outside the premises would present difficulties with transportation and getting approval from local governments. Moreover, the tanks would remain even when the decommissioning work was completed and would take up land required for storing debris, the company added.
Toxic water produced by cooling debris and other processes is purified using the Advanced Liquid Processing System, said to be capable of removing almost all radioactive materials except tritium.
As of late July, around 1.1 million tons of tritium-contaminated water was stored on the premises of the plant, according to TEPCO. The utility plans to raise storage capacity to 1.37 million tons by the end of 2020, but plans beyond that have yet to be decided.
The tanks currently fill at the rate of around 150 tons of water per day.
The government panel has looked into five options to dispose of the tainted water including discharging it into the sea and vaporization.
“It is unreasonable to store (the water) forever. The (storage) period and conditions should be established,” a member of the panel said.
Another member argued that the treated water should not be discharged into the ocean at any time soon, saying it is “illogical to sacrifice the livelihood of local residents to proceed with the decommissioning work.”
At the plant, an area of up to around 80,000 square meters, enough to accommodate tanks containing 380,000 tons of treated water, is required to store melted nuclear fuel and other debris that will be extracted in the future, according to TEPCO.
TEPCO also said at the panel meeting it is possible to expand the Fukushima plant by acquiring neighboring land used for interim storage of soil from decontamination work, but that the company hopes to carry out the decommissioning within the area of the existing premises.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

South Korea Weary of Japan’s Plans to Dump Fukushima Daiichi Radioactive Water into the Pacific

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Storage tanks for radioactive water are seen at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, in this picture taken on Feb. 18.
Greenpeace warns Korea of Japan’s radioactive water discharge
August 8, 2019
An international environment organization has said that Japan plans to discharge radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean in the near future and Korea will fall particularly vulnerable.
 
Greenpeace Korea, the global NGO’s branch in Seoul, reposted on Facebook, Wednesday, a column by its nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie published in The Economist, saying Japan is planning to discharge more than 1 billion liters of contaminated water stored at the Fukushima nuclear plant since the massive earthquake and nuclear disaster of 2011.
 
Burnie wrote in his article that the Japanese government has decided recently to take the “cheapest and fastest” way to dispose wastewater, which is to discharge it into the Pacific Ocean.
 
The scientist added neighboring countries will be exposed to radiation as a result and Korea, in particular, will suffer the most from it.
 
He claimed that if 1 million tons of radioactive water is discharged into the ocean, it will take 17 years and 770 million tons of water to dilute it, adding it is impossible not to discharge it without contaminating the ocean, and countries in the Pacific region will be exposed to radiation.
Burnie continued that Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings has tried to find ways to handle the contaminated water for the last eight years but failed. He pointed out that the Shinzo Abe administration never speaks about the risks of radioactive pollutant, and ignores unfavorable reports when they are released.
 
Chang Mari, a climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Korea, said the environmental organization has been watching the status of the nuclear plant in Fukushima, which was damaged by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
 
“Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has been conducting technical evaluations to discharge or manage the contaminated water between 2013 and 2016. The affiliated taskforce team dealing with titrated water under the ministry proposed five ways to dispose of the wastewater and it recommended discharging it into the ocean,” Chang told The Korea Times, Thursday.
 
“We have been issuing warnings to the Japanese government of possible consequences that could follow the pollutant discharge, but they all have been disregarded.”
 
The Korean government has been requesting the Japanese government share information on radioactivity levels in Fukushima for years but the latter has refused to do so, according to relevant Korean ministries.
 
“We have been holding meetings with Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism every year and we asked them to share data on how Japan has been dealing with contaminated water, but they have kept avoiding answering,” an official at the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said.
 
“The radiation levels in the coastal areas here have shown no big changes so far since 2015.”
 
 
Gov’t Says It Will Closely Monitor Fukushima’s Radioactive Wastewater
August 8, 2019
South Korea’s Oceans Ministry said that it is closely watching how Japan will deal with radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant that melted down earlier this decade.
 
Following claims by global environmental watchdog Greenpeace that Japan plans to release more than one million tons of radioactive water into the ocean, a ministry official told KBS on Thursday that the government has been demanding that Tokyo disclose how it plans to deal with the problem. 
 
According to the official, Seoul has in the past demanded Tokyo explain how it plans to deal with the contaminated water, but Tokyo has continuously stonewalled.
 
The ministry has been examining water near South Korea’s shores on a quarterly basis since 2015, and there has been no significant change so far, according to the official.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | 2 Comments

Japan to resume effort to tackle contaminated water problem at Fukushima

Japanese Government, TEPCO and the Japanese media keep on bringing back this issue, the lack of space on site to keep the accumulating radioactive water, as a mean to force the public’s acceptance for its dumping into the Pacific ocean. The two radionuclide filtering systems are not fully performing, therefore that stored water is only partially decontaminated, and still radionuclides loaded.
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Storage tanks for radioactive water are seen at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan February 18, 2019
August 8, 2019
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan is resuming efforts to disperse a build-up of contaminated water at Tokyo Electric Power’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant that is stalling progress on cleaning up the site, the government said on Thursday.
A panel of experts will meet on Friday for the first time in eight months to consider options to get rid of the water, Japan’s government said in briefing documents it released.
The panel will consider strategies such as evaporation of the water and injection deep underground, in addition to a recommendation by Japan’s nuclear regulator to release the treated water into the ocean, a more conventional technique.
Regular meetings of the panel had stopped nearly three months after Tokyo Electric (Tepco) admitted it had not managed to completely remove potentially dangerous radioactive particles from treated water held in tanks.
The admission had been a setback for the company and the government, as the water hampered clean-up of the site where three reactors melted down after an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.
In 2016, the Japanese government estimated that the total cost of plant dismantling, decontamination of affected areas, and compensation, would be 21.5 trillion yen (£166.6 billion), or about a fifth of the country’s annual budget.
Tokyo won the bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics around six years ago, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declaring that Fukushima was “under control” in his final pitch to the International Olympic Committee.
At nuclear sites around the world, contaminated water is treated to remove all radioactive particles except tritium, a relatively harmless isotope of hydrogen hard to separate from water and released into the environment.
But because of missteps such as last year’s admission that it had not removed everything except tritium from the tanks, Tepco faces difficulties winning the trust of regional fisherman who oppose the water’s release into the ocean.
Some countries, including South Korea, still have restrictions on produce from areas around the Fukushima site.
Tepco has completed replacement of older tanks that had experienced leaks with stronger ones, the government said.
It is expected to run out of tank space by mid-2022, the government added, adding to the urgency to resolve the problem.

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Japan’s govt urges Fukushima evacuees to return – in drive to promote 2020 Olympics

Fukushima: Despite health threats, the Japanese government urges residents to return. Families who fled nuclear meltdown in Fukushima are being urged to return to their homes ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
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Families claim the government is speeding up return ahead of Olympics
Aug 4, 2019
Alarming levels of radiation up to 20 times higher than official safety targets have been recorded in areas where locals are being encouraged to go back. We found ghost towns eight years after three reactors went into meltdown at Daiichi power plant 140 miles north east of Tokyo in March 2011. Tokyo 2020 is being hailed as the “Reconstruction Olympics” signalling new hope following the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the disaster and left more than 18,000 people dead. 
Now evacuees are being urged to return as the global spotlight focuses on the recovery of the region. The government has lifted most evacuation orders and all but a handful of hot spots have been declared safe. 
But parents believe their children are in danger, saying officials are downplaying the dangers and safety is compromised in a cynical attempt to convince the world the crisis is over. 
Families have accused the government of speeding up their return to showcase safety standards ahead of the Olympics. 
We found once-vibrant communities now post apocalyptic wastelands like something from a Hollywood movie after the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. 
Schools, shopping malls, supermarkets, libraries and petrol stations lie decaying along with thousands of homes. Many are set behind guarded barricades in exclusion areas known officially as “difficult to return to zones”. 
Others lie in areas which the government says are safe to live in but whose few residents – wild boar and monkeys – demonstrate signs of mutation. Along roadsides sit giant black bags containing contaminated soil. 
In Tomioka, five miles from the power plant, a school sports hall is scattered with footballs left when children fled. 
It’s in stark contrast to arenas being built for the £20billion Games. Fukushima is hosting the first event, a softball match on July 22, two days before the opening ceremony. 
The Japanese leg of the torch relay starts on March 26 at a soccer training centre 12 miles south of the crippled plant. The J Village, a base for emergency workers, only fully reopened last month. 
In Okuma our Geiger counter sounded furiously, recording four microsieverts an hour. The government safety target is 0.23 microsieverts per hour. 
It came days after evacuation orders were lifted for parts of the town which had 10,000 residents. The centre remains a no-go zone and just 367 former residents have registered to go back. 
Ayako Oga, 46, who suffered a miscarriage, says: “The Olympics are putting lives in danger. The government is forcing people to leave the public homes they have been in. They are putting a heavy burden on people still suffering mentally and financially.” 
In Namie, which had 21,000 residents, evacuation orders were lifted in 2017. It is said 800 people returned but we found desolation, only traffic lights working. 
The Wild Boar bar last served a drink on disaster day. Owner Sumio Konno, in a group legal action against the government, says his son, who was five, still suffers nosebleeds. “He is sick all the time,” he says. “Every month he needs to go to the doctor.” 
Ryohei Kataoka, of the Citizens Nuclear Information Centre, says: “The government’s insistence in lifting evacuation orders where heightened radiation-related health risks undeniably exist, is a campaign to show that Fukushima is ‘back to normal’ and to try to make Japan and the world forget the accident ever happened.” 

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Korea to restrict imports from Japan’s Fukushima

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A protester at an anti-Japan rally stand next to a banner mocking the Japanese Foreign Ministers Taro Kono’s promotional remarks on Fukushima’s food safety
August 4, 2019 By Do Je-hae
 
The Moon Jae-in administration will tighten its import quota on fishery and agricultural products from Fukushima in Japan in response to Tokyo’s decision to remove Korea from its whitelist of Group A countries that receive preferential trade processing.
 
A presidential aide said Sunday that if the Japanese Cabinet’s decision to remove Korea from the list takes effect Aug. 28, South Korea will reduce its quota for imports of seafood from Fukushima, which was affected by a nuclear power plant disaster in 2011.
 
“The Korean government has started to look into controlling the import quota of products from Fukushima,” the aide said asking for anonymity citing the sensitivity of the issue.
 
The new quota would strengthen control of imports of seafood from Fukushima and the surrounding region, which were introduced by Seoul in the wake of the nuclear disaster due to concerns about radioactive contamination.
 
The reinforcing of non-tariff measures in response to Japan’s trade offensive is gaining ground after Deputy Prime Minister and Economy and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki stressed that the government would impose measures to protect the “people’s safety.”
 
This was seen as targeting Japanese food imports from Fukushima following a massive earthquake and tsunami that destroyed the nuclear power plant there.
 
“Regarding Japan’s latest action, the biggest priority in relation to public safety are the tourism, food and waste sectors. We will announce specific follow-up measures for these after carefully reviewing them,” Hong said.
 
Observers say that using non-tariff measures can be useful for Seoul in gaining international support in the trade row with Japan, given that the World Trade Organization (WTO) took its side regarding the import of seafood from Fukushima in a ruling in April after a three-year battle.
 
The ruling in favor of Korea was a blow to the Japanese government, which exerted all-out efforts amid concerns about the safety of Fukushima fishery products. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to promote that it is safe to eat food from Fukushima at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, by pledging to use the area’s food products at the athletes’ village. This campaign has sparked a call among some Korean lawmakers for a boycott of the Tokyo Games.
 
Other measures being considered by Seoul include removing Japan from its whitelist and tightening controls on exports to Japan. Currently there are 29 countries on Korea’s list of trusted trading partners, including Japan. Seoul is also planning to take Tokyo’s trade restrictions to the WTO.
 
In addition, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, and second deputy director of the presidential National Security Office Kim Hyun-chong have hinted at the possibility of repealing a military information-sharing pact with Japan, the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA).
 
“We will sternly carry out corresponding measures against the unfair economic retaliation. If Japan attempts to damage our economy, we will also take reciprocal responses and will strengthen them step-by-step,” President Moon Jae-in said in a rare live televised emergency Cabinet meeting over the weekend.

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