Press Conference by the Prime Minister regarding His Visit to Fukushima Prefecture

March 11, 2022
 [Provisional Translation]
(On his understanding of the current state of the reconstruction in the Tohoku region and future policies on nuclear power generation)
Let me first tell you that today I attended the Fukushima Memorial Event to Commemorate the Victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake in Prayer for Revitalization hosted by Fukushima Prefecture. As my thoughts turned to the victims of the earthquake disaster, I renewed my determination to realize construction. It has now been 11 years since the earthquake disaster. While reconstruction has been making steady progress thanks to the untiring efforts until now of those concerned, some issues remain, including the psychological care of those affected by the disaster, and in particular, medium- to long-term responses to reconstruction and revival from the nuclear disaster will continue to be absolutely imperative. The Government will continue to take fully to hear the voices of the people affected by the disaster, and we will act as one in working towards reconstruction under the strong determination that "without the reconstruction of Tohoku, there will be no revival of Japan” as you mentioned in your question. 
Regarding your question as to how I think about nuclear power generation, I believe that safety must be given the highest priority over any other matter. My basic approach to nuclear power generation is to utilize nuclear power only when the Nuclear Regulation Authority considers it to be in compliance with the new regulatory standards, while seeking to obtain the understanding of local communities. I believe that this will not change down the road.
 (On the responsibility of the Government that has promoted the nuclear energy policy; the lifting of the evacuation orders for the difficult-to-return-to zones in areas other than the reconstruction hubs; how the Government will deal with the release of ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System) treated water into the ocean to be implemented next year; and his thoughts on nuclear disasters as a prime minister with his roots in Hiroshima, where an atomic bomb was dropped)
I should first mention that although full-scale reconstruction has already started in Fukushima, many people are still unable to return to their hometowns as they are forced to live in evacuation centers, suffering severe hardship. We must keep this in mind. With the evacuation orders for Specified Reconstruction and Revitalization Bases expected to be lifted one after another from this spring, we must ensure that all residents outside the specified bases wishing to return to their hometowns will be able to do so during the 2020s while carefully listening to their wishes.
Regarding your question about the ALPS treated water, we believe that it is important to reassure the Japanese public and the rest of the world by ensuring safety through gaining cooperation from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and convincing them of its safety and other aspects.  The Government is also committed to making all-out efforts to take measures against reputational damage with a determination to prevent any such damage from occurring. 
In your question, you also asked how I think about the responsibility of the Government. As I have just mentioned, it is important for the Government to take the lead in dealing with the matter to fulfill its responsibility.
As to how I think about nuclear disasters, I believe that we must work to ensure the safety of nuclear power generation with a determination that another such accident should never happen. We also recognize the importance of the Government taking the lead in safely and steadily decommissioning nuclear reactors, which is a prerequisite to achieve reconstruction. The Government is committed to taking necessary measures to ensure steady progress in full-scale reconstruction and revitalization of Fukushima.

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Archives (Archived entries for the 98th through 100th prime ministers)