When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe went to Buenos Aires and personally spoke to the International Olympic Committee members, assuring them that things were “under control” in Fukushima, some say it was the deciding factor in the IOC vote to award Tokyo the rights to host the 2020 Olympics. But now statements from utility operator Tokyo Electric Power Co as well as Fukushima fishermen are casting doubts on whether or not Abe lied to secure the vote.
At a press conference on Monday, two days after the IOC decision, the media demanded of TEPCO to corroborate Abe’s statement that the radioactive water has been “completely blocked” and is not flowing into the ocean. However, while the spokesperson said they are working on stabilizing the situation, it appeared like they are contradicting what the prime minister said by revealing they cannot say for sure that it is technically possible to “completely block” the contaminated water from flowing outside of the crippled plant.
Measures are in place to try to control the situation. They have built an impermeable sea wall to prevent the water from flowing into the sea. An underwater curtain or “silt fence” has also been erected to prevent contamination in the harbor area itself. They have also hardened the soil in the embankment by using “waterglass” or sodium silicate, a sticky liquid-like chemical substance. But despite all these, the radioactive water still rises above the sea wall and radioactive materials are still detected in the water behind the silt fence and 3 kilometers offshore, although it is already diluted by the seawater. And of course, there is still the problem of how to store the increasing number of groundwater, around 400 tons everyday, that flows through the plant.
The fishermen in the Fukushima area are also angry at Abe’s statements. One member of the Soma-Futaba fishing cooperative association said that they are “tormented” by the radioactive water and cannot resume their fishing operations precisely because of the issues of radiation. He says that Abe is telling the world one thing, while he cannot give the locals the same assurance. “Can Abe take responsibility for his own words? If he can, I urge him to act on what he said,” he said. Even Fukushima governor Yuhei Sato has strong words to say. He wants Abe to stand by that promise he made to the IOC because what he said means the government has to ensure the safety of everyone who will be participating at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
[ via Japan Crush ]