On the day that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was to announce their selection as the host of the 32nd Olympiad in 2020, controversial Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose spoke strongly against the media’s coverage of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in a news conference, concerned at how it might affect the Japanese capital’s bid for hosting the Summer Olympics again. Inose’s worries were eventually relieved as the IOC announced Tokyo’s winning bid in Buenos Aires on Saturday, but the Tokyo governor was keen to alleviate the concern regarding the “scare stories” that the press were spreading about the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
As Japan triumphed over Istanbul and Madrid – the two other bidding cities – Inose stressed that Japan’s central government has stepped in to address the toxic water problem at the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 power plant. The crisis has been generating international attention, and the Tokyo bid officials had to fend off questions in news conferences about the large quantities of radioactive groundwater seeping from the decommissioning of the molten-down Fukushima nuclear cores into the Pacific. Inose said that he believes every necessary measure is now being taken by the Japanese government.
“With the leaking contaminated water what can we do? Well Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Aug. 8 that Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) should no longer be in charge and measures were put in place,” Inose explained, referring to the nuclear plant’s operator. “Also on Sept. 3, 47 billion yen (over US$470 million) was set aside to tackle this project,” the governor also added.
Inose assured the press that the government was taking responsibility. “This contaminated water covers an area of 0.3 sq. km and we will be able to see the direction it takes,” Inose said of the radioactive groundwater leak that has been publicized as one of TEPCO’s major blunders in a long line of gaffes. “So much rumor has been conveyed by the media,” Inose said. “When it was discussed by the Cabinet on Sept. 3 on what to do, the paper was published in both Japanese and English,” he continued. “First of all, the press should read the statement and then ask questions. Fact and basis should be reported.”