politics

3 mayors snub Hosono, Hirano over radioactive waste storage plan

27 Comments

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.

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27 Comments
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What an arrogance! Excessive democracy and selfishness is harming Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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.

summary : Hosono Hirano snub 3 mayors.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

So having a wrecked, smoldering, radiating nuclear ruin nearby is ok, but having radioactive waste is a no-go? Ooh, thats right, the plant is in a state of cold shutdown, so no problem!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

and that if a storage facility is built in the area, residents will never be able to return to their land,

Didnt they just say not 2 days ago that they would never be able to return anyway? I feel REALLY sorry for these people, but thanks to TEPCO and the government their land is gone. They now need every help and support to start new lives elsewhere and their mayor needs to get with reality and help them.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

The government needs to do this in the correct order.

Declare the land unfit for habitation Pay fair and proper compensation to the residents Once the land is paid for, build the storage facility

Residents are probably suspicious that the government wants to buy the land cheaply ("Well it's all contaminated now so it's only worth this low and paltry price that we're offering.")

13 ( +12 / -0 )

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

Seriously?

I can concede this time that they're actually victims, but somebody needs a reality check really, really bad.

The. Land. Is. Gone.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

That land will be especially sacred as it will be saving the rest of Japan by holding the polluted grounds and waste. Sorry, but do and raise a big jinja there in honor of the sacrifice. The land where everyone else lives is also sacred to the residents. No one can outsacred anyone else. Time to get real and accept what is going to have to be done. Don't spread this contaminated stuff around just for your own bit of sacred turf.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

They'll be having meetings like this forever, unfortunately ...all because of (man made) nuclear plants.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The talk of the sacking of the Tepco Board, admission the safety checks were inadequate and that despite meetings about this very type of disaster they were unprepared, the Government announcing that some areas will most likely be permanently uninhabitable and now talk of using this land for the only thing it is now good for..

Could it be that some sense, despite it being a year in the making, is starting to permeate though the bureaucracy?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wow, for once I actually find myself on the side of Hosono. Who ever would have thought. These three mayors, while I admire them for putting their people first, really need to get a reality check. These places are no gos for as long as those people are alive. Scared or not, use the land for what it can be used for - storing this waste - rather than put the rest of the population as risk.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why would anyone want to live in a contaminated area let alone a crippled nuclear plant that will be leaking for the next 40+ years. Clean up all you want, but to go about daily life knowing that a dangerous facility is just down the road ready to collapse, blow up or worse with the next earthquake, human error, fatigue failure, etc would be just criminal especially if you have a family and kids. Get compensated and move on.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Land is not sacred. People are.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I never had the impression that Japan cared very much for the wishes of its residents. If You look at Shinkansen tracks through residential quarters, highways on stakes through town centers or nuclear plants where the people don't want them - why do they suddenly make such a fuss about it. The waste must go somewhere and the area is off limits currently. As long as the waste is relocated before the evacuation zone is reopened to the public, I cannot clearly see any reason to justify that opposition. They should build it a few kilometers away from the coast to prove that they have learned the lessons from last time, though.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"Sacred" or not, the contaminated areas are the most logical and sensible location for the waste storage. Or do these mayors think that land in other parts of Japan is less "sacred" than theirs?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"temporary facilities"..Ha, ha, ha...that is a good one.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It sounds like the 3 mayors want with all their hearts for a robust economic community to return. Sad so sad, this is not going to happen. The best bet is to cut their losses and allow the storage buildings to be built.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I saw a recent rad reading in Namie of 9 microsieverts/hr. People can't return if it's that level.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Ah yes, sounds a little like the mayor of Futaba is a NIMBY who has lost touch with the reality of the situation. As many have stated, the government has already said that it would be impossible to return to some areas. The owners of the land should be paid a fair price for the property and things they have lost. The government might even look into helping to find and/or build new houses for these people. The areas need these temporary storage facilities in order to start rebuilding. The land that the government is planning to use is, I believe, land that is contaminated and therefore uninhabitable. Correct me if I'm wrong.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The government needs to do this in the correct order.

Declare the land unfit for habitation Pay* fair and proper *compensation to the residents Once the land is paid for, build the storage facility

Residents are probably suspicious that the government wants to buy the land cheaply

You've hit the nail on the head. I think all contaminated waste should go in Fukushima, including waste from other places, including Chiba, Ibaraki, Miyagi, Iwate, Tokyo, Kanagawa, wherever. It's heartbreaking because this was a breathtakingly beautiful area, and I have no doubt that in the minds of its people, it will be sacred. The fact is though, that it has now been irrepairably desecrated, and as JapanGal put it so eloquently, the living are even more sacred. TEPCO, with government collusion, have pooped all over that sacred land. The government should negotiate with other areas, so that the community can relocate somewhere equally beautiful and underpopulated, with generous subsidies and full logistical support, to make it possible for them to recreate a vestige of their former community. As I understand it, huge areas of Japan are suffering from depopulation, houses and land are abandoned, so surely this must be possible.

I read elsewhere that the mayor of Futaba was outside when one of the plants exploded, and he said flakes came falling out of the sky on top of the townspeople, as they were trying to evacuate the patients from the local hospital. He said "it's the end", and now suffers from nosebleeds, loss of hair. He knows he's done for, and many others from his community, so I don't think he needs a reality check. The government needs to start dealing with the situation properly and sensitively. At the same time as they're pushing for storage of contaminated material in Fukushima, they're pushing the rest of us to "share the pain" by eating, drinking and breathing in "diluted" radiation that has been incinerated all over the country. And anyone should trust what the government says???!!!!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

as_the_crow_flies

" It's heartbreaking because this was a breathtakingly beautiful area, "

It will still be a breathtakingly beautiful area without human habitation, and actually even more so. Fact is, you can´t have everything, as the local mayors seem to wish.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What bothers me most about this is a bit rude to say, but I think the mayor is just trying to hold on to his job and power at the expense of ppls lives, both the ppl he is representing and ppl all over Japan. He recognizes this waste will make the land unliveable, but to ship the waste to liveable parts of Japan and make more places unliveable is okay to him as long as he can keep his job. I also wonder if he is part of the problem of why ppl will not leave. He may be sending out information to the residents that returning to their homes will be fine as soon as clean up is done. This is a lie. The land is too contaminated and the ppl need to be told the truth and helped to relocate. I know having to start all over again is tough and no one wants to lose their good job in this economy, but dont put a job over countless lives.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The fact that the 20km no-go zone is uninhabitable is unquestionable. But starting the buiding of waste dumps before all the residents are compensated and given an apology, is the point here. Still alotta anger and not enough apologies to the people who had their homes turned into a toxic wasted dump.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Maybe these mayors just try to bargain, but on the other hand we have the central government, which tells the people from the no go zone that after some cleaning up they will be able to return to their places. You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yeah, gonemad you said it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The earliest anybody would be able to return to some of those areas to live is 50 years down the road and that's WITH aggressive clean-up operations. By then, the people who hold that land "sacred" will have died and their offspring will have regarded some OTHER place as "home" for so long that their original homes will be just a place on a map to them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@gonemad,

You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

You most certainly can. In fact it's impossible to eat cake at all unless you first have it in-hand. What you CAN'T do is eat your cake and then have it, too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow... Japanese politicians snubbing an idea that makes sense. Go figure.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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