The government has given up on a plan to buy land in areas near the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in order to build interim storage facilities for nuclear waste.
The government has been unable to secure the understanding for its plan from local residents. Instead, the Environment Ministry has proposed leasing the land for an initial 30-year period.
Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara and Reconstruction Minister Takumi Nemoto explained the new proposal Monday in a meeting with Fukushima Gov Yuhei Sato, and the mayors of two towns -- Okuma and Futaba -- which had been designated by the central government as sites for interim storage facilities.
The government has been trying for months to persuade local residents in the two towns to sell their land, especially since they will remain no-go zones for many years to come.
However, Ishihara was harshly criticized last month when he made remarks suggesting that residents in the nuclear disaster-hit area could be persuaded to put up with contaminated waste if the government threw cash at them.
Soon after, Ishihara apologized to Okuma Mayor Toshitsuna Watanabe and Futaba Mayor Shiro Izawa.
During Monday's meeting in Tokyo, the two mayors told Ishihara that residents did not want to sell their ancestral land. They said the new proposal to lease the land sounded better but indicated it will take time to gain residents' acceptance, TBS reported.© Japan Today/AFP