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Reconstruction following the Great East Japan Earthquake

February 24, 2014(PM)

[Provisional Translation]

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

Q&As

  • The issue related to the leakage of contaminated water at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station

(Abridged)

REPORTER: At Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, 110 tons of water contaminated with high concentrations of radiation leaked from a water storage tank. In terms of both monitoring and operations, the leak could have been due to human error, or it could have been intentional. What are your thoughts on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA:First of all, the current situation is that Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is engaging in efforts based on instructions from the Nuclear Regulation Authority. These efforts include stopping the leak and identifying the scope of contamination, collecting the contaminated water, and measuring the status of contamination. The leakage of contaminated water is now entirely halted. In addition, as there are no drainage channels leading to the sea nearby, there is no leakage into the sea; and in order to prevent further expansion of the contamination we will remove contaminated soil, as well as collect contaminated water. With regard to the cause of the leak, as you just mentioned, there is a high possibility that it was not a mechanical fault, but rather caused by some kind of intervention by a worker, including the possibility of an operating error. Therefore, TEPCO is currently investigating the facts behind the leak.

REPORTER: I have another question on this topic. On March 11, it will have been three years since the accident. In terms of management, what are your thoughts about the fact that human errors are causing accidents even now?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA:It is extremely regrettable that this leak of contaminated water occurred. To ensure that this never happens again, I believe that it will be necessary to revise measures to prevent reoccurrences, and also to thoroughly restructure organizations. We will also give full consideration to the severe working environment on-site. Through the Nuclear Regulation Authority, the Government will continue to firmly caution TEPCO and monitor TEPCO’s progress. We will urge TEPCO to take definite measures to ensure there is no reoccurrence of such trouble and errors.

(Abridged)

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