Press Conference by the Prime Minister on the Discharge of ALPS Treated Water into the Sea, the Overall Review of My Number Information and Other Matters

August 24, 2023

[Provisional translation]


[Initial remarks on the discharge of ALPS treated water]
Today, I would like to speak about the discharge of ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System) treated water into the sea, the overall review of My Number information and other matters. Regarding ALPS treated water, TEPCO started the discharge of such water into the sea after 1:00 p.m. today, based on the decision made at the meeting of relevant ministers on August 22. I would like to make the following 2 points on the discharge.
Firstly, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), which is an international organization specializing in the field of atomic energy, issued a statement today announcing that its independent analysis of discharged water confirmed that the concentration of tritium is far below the operational limit. I also understand that the IAEA will be engaged in works to improve transparency, by publicizing various data accessible to the international community, such as frequently-updated live monitoring data from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. In addition, I have been informed of the launch of an IAEA mechanism to share information with the ROK Government, which provides the most up-to-date information from the IAEA. I have high expectations that, thanks to these efforts, the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea will be conducted in an even more transparent manner. When I visited the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station the other day, I saw the space dedicated to IAEA staff to be permanently stationed. The Japanese Government will do its utmost with a sense of urgency.
Secondly, let me refer to China’s announcement today that it has imposed a total ban on imports of marine products from Japan. I understand that a short while ago, the Chinese Government announced its decision to comprehensively halt imports of marine products from Japan on a temporary basis. Through diplomatic channels, we have just made a request to the Chinese side to immediately lift the ban. We will urge the Chinese Government to appropriately discuss the effects of the discharge into the sea among experts, based on scientific grounds. The Japanese Government will take all possible measures, including the use of funds and TEPCO’s compensation, to ensure that the fisheries industry will not suffer from any damage, reputational or other, from the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea.
Meanwhile, as for the overall review of My Number information, Minister. Kato, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, and Minister. Kono, Minister for Digital Transformation, briefed me today on the status of the review and other related matters. They reported that, regarding the use of My Number cards as health insurance certificates, due to reasons such as the mismatch between the submitted data and the data in the Basic Resident Register, the data registration for around 640,000 people, representing around 0.8% of those insured under employee’s health insurance system, has not yet been completed, even after two months or more since their health insurance contract. I have instructed Minister Kato to immediately inform those who remain unregistered from the perspective of ordinary citizens, and to complete the registration process by the end of November, along with the overall review. In addition, regarding the overall review of My Number information, I have been informed that the Digital Agency will issue tomorrow the review manual for municipalities charged with the review work, and begin the reviewing of individual data. I have instructed Minister Kono to share the schedule of the entire process with the municipalities and the public, advance the process in a manner visible to the people, and provide Governmental support to municipalities charged with the review work. In order to restore trust in the My Number card system, it is indispensable not only to promptly deal with individual issues from the perspective of ordinary citizens, but also to steadily conduct the overall review and subsequent correction work. I myself will take the lead in steadily advancing the task together with the municipalities and the insured public.


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