Govt. to protect fish industry from misinformation

Japan's government plans to support the country's fisheries industry if it is affected by misinformation when treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is released into the ocean.

A panel that includes relevant cabinet ministers decided on Tuesday to set up a fund in case demand for domestic marine products declines in response to the release.

The fund will temporarily be used to buy and store marine products that can be frozen. The government will introduce new clients or help with advertising and securing sales routes for products that cannot be frozen.

The size of the fund and details of the plan are to be arranged before the discharge of the treated water, which is expected to take place around the spring of 2023.

Water contaminated with tritium and other radioactive materials at the plant has been treated and stored in tanks. The water will be diluted to levels below national regulations before it is released.

By having the system in place, the government hopes to be able to respond flexibly to any reputational damage.

If such efforts are insufficient, the government plans to instruct the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, to compensate in accordance with the damage.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu said in the meeting that the International Atomic Energy Agency has agreed to start implementing a project to monitor and review the safety of the discharge of treated water.

Kato said it will be conducted under strict and transparent assessment and information will be conveyed to the global community from an objective viewpoint.

He said that through an exchange of various views he has also heard concerns about reputational damage regarding the safety and discharge of treated water.

Kato said that first of all, thorough efforts must be made to ensure that misinformation does not emerge. He added if it does, a climate should exist that enables it to be overcome so work can continue without worries.

The chief cabinet secretary said that measures at various government ministries will be implemented to ensure the efforts are sustainable and support the affected people.