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Fishermen outraged

October 4, 2013



Fishermen furious over new radioactive water leak at Fukushima nuke plant



FUKUSHIMA -- Local fishermen and regional government heads have expressed outrage over a new leak of radioactive water from a storage tank at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean.

"How long is Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) going to hold us fishermen back?" Masakazu Yabuki, 76, head of the Iwaki City Fisheries Cooperative Association, said about the repeated tainted water leaks. The association is planning to conduct trial fishing off Fukushima Prefecture on Oct. 10, for the first time since the outbreak of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared during an International Olympic Committee meeting last month that the effects of the contaminated water have been completely blocked within the bay that hosts the plant, the latest water leak has further fueled distrust among fishermen and local government heads against TEPCO and the central government.

Regarding Abe's remarks, Yabuki said, "He was only referring to the data on radioactive materials after contaminated water was diluted by seawater. Fishery operators are enraged, saying the prime minister is making a fool of them."

Hiroyuki Sato, 57, head of the Soma-Futaba fisheries cooperative which resumed test fishing at the end of September, said, "We've been fishing after confirming the safety of areas through monitor surveys. It's not like we are conducting test fishing in the belief of the prime minister's irresponsible remarks that the situation is 'under control.'"

Mayor Tamotsu Baba of the Fukushima Prefecture town of Namie, who is seeking to revive the town's Ukedo fishing port, said, "Are they really thinking about the contaminated water issue seriously? Every single incident becomes a matter of life or death for fishery operators, and could lead to harmful rumors."

Mayor Toshitsuna Watanabe of the Fukushima Prefecture town of Okuma said, "This happened despite now being a crucial time for devising a recovery plan. It just makes us feel 'Not again' and discourages us from even making comments."

Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato said at a hastily arranged meeting of managers at the prefectural government, "We have repeatedly demanded TEPCO ensure its risk management. We can only call the company sloppy."

The Fukushima Prefectural Government began a sampling survey on seawater near the plant's southern water discharge outlet on Oct. 3, for analysis of the concentrations of strontium and tritium -- radioactive materials that both emit beta rays

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