Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took pains to drum up support for Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games. But even after gaining the honor, a question looms over the hype – is Abe covering up the unfolding nuclear issue?
During Japan’s final presentation before the International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires, Abe assured that the leaks at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, 220 kilometers (130 miles) north of Tokyo, were “under control.”
“The effects from the contaminated water have been perfectly blocked within the artificial bay,” or a silt fence deliberately set up around the embattled nuclear complex.
Last month, Tokyo Electric Power Co. admitted that tons of contaminated water may have flowed into the sea.
The crisis, the most serious since the meltdown two years ago, threatened to overshadow Tokyo’s bid for the summer games and prompted the government to step in.
“Voices of concern have been raised about the waste water problem in Fukushima,” Abe had said.
“The government will stand at the forefront to completely fix this problem. I want to explain that this is not going to be a problem in any way in seven years’ time.”
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga admitted at a news conference Tuesday that contaminated water had escaped through the silt fence, built with many openings to withstand waves and tidal movements.
“Even at the maximum, the density of radioactive cesium is less than one-five hundredth of the World Health Organization standards for drinking water, which poses no health problems at all,” Suga said.
“So based on this, Abe said in Buenos Aires that the effect has been totally blocked” within the bay of Fukushima, he said.
By: Maesie Bertumen
Image: CSIS: Center for Strategic & International Studies/Flickr