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Reconstruction following the Great East Japan Earthquake

July 14, 2014(PM)

[Provisional Translation]

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

Q&As

(Abridged)

REPORTER: Rice harvested last autumn in Minamisoma City in Fukushima Prefecture has been found to contain traces of cesium exceeding the reference value. While recognizing that the removal of debris from within the grounds of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station could potentially cause radioactive materials to be dispersed, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have not provided any explanation to local residents to date. What are your thoughts on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, with regard to explanations to local residents, I hear that explanations were provided locally in February this year. At that time the possibility of contamination was reported, but it was also explained that the cause was unclear, and would be examined further.

REPORTER: TEPCO is planning to dismantle the building cover on Unit 1 in order to remove debris around Unit 1 at the power station. What are your thoughts about such an operation in light of this recent problem?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In April this year, the Secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority issued instructions to TEPCO concerning the prevention of radioactive material dispersal. These instructions required that additional dispersal prevention measures be implemented and the dispersal monitoring system be strengthened upon commencing dismantlement of the building cover on Unit 1. I would also like to add that the Government is implementing overall examinations of all bags of rice shipped from Fukushima Prefecture, so that in the event that any food product exceeds the reference value, it will not enter the market distribution chain.

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