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Speeches and Statements by the Prime Minister

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

March 6, 2021

[Provisional Translation]
 (On the Prime Minister’s visit to Fukushima Prefecture)

It has been exactly ten years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Taking this as an opportunity, I have visited the disaster-stricken area. During this visit, I offered my heartfelt condolences and expressed my determination for the Government of Japan to continue to stand at the fore in undertaking efforts for the reconstruction of Fukushima.

In the towns of Okuma and Futaba, I was briefed on the work towards redeveloping their business districts, station-front plazas, and other areas, and I felt tangibly that these towns are moving forward steadily. And in addition, I had a discussion with four young residents, who came to work and live in Namie Town as volunteers and are taking on various challenges of Fukushima’s revival, together with the local residents. I found our discussion to be extremely promising in that, as the reconstruction of Fukushima approaches its tenth anniversary, this community building has progressed in a new direction.

After that, I talked with people in the hydrogen research field. I myself declared that Japan will become carbon neutral, and as one part of that, from now we will work to create hydrogen utilizing renewable energy and then store it. We consider research on this to be absolutely critical.

I also inspected a robot test field just now, where efforts are underway to incorporate new techniques into various kinds of disaster countermeasures, carried out by drones.

Moreover, we experienced an earthquake off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture recently, just when we are looking ahead at the tenth anniversary. The Government has created a framework through which we will provide the greatest possible assistance so that local residents do not become dispirited towards their future. The governor and others involved in this have expressed great appreciation, and I am glad that the Government took such bold steps. Regardless, as we mark ten years of reconstruction, I intend at a national level to undertake future reconstruction with a firm sense of responsibility.

 (On making a decision on how to deal with ALPS-treated water*, and on the prospects for lifting the evacuation orders for areas outside the zones designated for reconstruction and recovery)
As for dealing with ALPS-treated water, the number of tanks has increased and the space has come under strain. In light of this, I believe we must not postpone dealing with the matter indefinitely, without taking a decision.

Over the past six years, we have discussed various disposal methods and other such matters at great length, including through examination by the experts. I have been saying this all along, but the Government will take responsibility and decide on a disposal policy at an appropriate time.

We are now discussing lifting the evacuation orders for areas outside the zones designated for reconstruction and recovery. We have been receiving emphatic requests from the residents to do so. The Government remains unchanged in its approach that in the future evacuation orders will be lifted for all difficult-to-return zones, even if that takes a long time.

 (On the release of treated water into the ocean)

Over the past six years, we have listened to the views of a wide range of people in working to tackle the issue of this treated water. The Government will take responsibility and make an appropriate decision at an appropriate time.
* Water treated using the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) multi-nuclide removal facility

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