The mayors of three of eight municipalities within the 20-kilometer no-go zone around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Sunday snubbed a meeting with Environment Minister Goshi Hosono and Reconstruction Minister Tatsuo Hirano.
The meeting, which was canceled, had been called so that Hosono, who is also the minister in charge of handling the nuclear crisis, and Hirano could explain to the eight mayors the central government's plan to build temporary facilities for storing contaminated soil and other radioactive waste.
The mayors of Futaba, Namie and Hirono towns stayed away.
In December, the government proposed buying up large tracts of abandoned land in the 20-kilometer no-go zone in order to build temporary storage facilities for contaminated soil and radioactive waste.
The plan calls for the government to buy up or lease land that has been abandoned in the Futaba area where radiation doses are likely to exceed 100 millisieverts per year.
The facilities, which would have concrete walls, will be used to store containers of contaminated soil and radioactive waste from the no-go zone and other areas in and around Fukushima Prefecture.
The waste will initially be stored for three years in short-term repositories while the government constructs bigger facilities for storage over a 30-year period.
Hosono said he envisioned the biggest facility would cover an area of 5 square kilometers and be able to hold up to 28 million cubic meters of waste.
After the government announced the plan, Hosono met with the mayors of the eight municipalities that make up the Futaba area. In January, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda also visited Fukushima Prefecture to ask for Gov Yuhei Sato's understanding of the plan.
However, Futaba Mayor Katsutaka Idogawa has opposed the plan from the beginning. He repeated his objection again Sunday by saying that the land was sacred to the residents and their ancestors, and that if a storage facility is built in the area, residents will never be able to return to their land, Jiji Press reported.
He also said that the central government continues to disregard the views of local municipalities, making it impossible for there to be mutual trust.
Speaking to reporters after Sunday's meeting was canceled, Hosono said he will explain to the mayors that building temporary storage facilities is essential and is in the best interests of Fukushima Prefecture, Jiji reported.© Japan Today