Japanese government officials on Wednesday, September 4th, briefed diplomats that they were still considering options for handling contaminated water at Tokyo Electric Power's wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant amid worries the water may be dumped into the ocean, according to Reuters.
The Fukushima plant, which suffered triple meltdowns in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, stores more than 1 million tons of treated but radioactive water in nearly 1,000 tanks, as operator Tokyo Electric (Tepco) tries to cool the melted fuel cores by pouring water over them.
Last month, the plant’s operator Tepco said that it will run out of tank space by mid-2022, prompting South Korea to raise safety questions amid tensions with Japan over trade and historic differences.
The briefing for embassy officials in Tokyo follows a meeting in August of a government panel of experts looking into ways to solve the water problem. The final government decision will be made based on a report by the panel.
According to the media briefing, 27 embassy officials and diplomats from 22 countries and regions, including South Korea and the United States attended. No protests or demands have been made by the participating diplomats.
Koichiro Matsumoto, the Japanese Foreign Ministry's director of international cooperation, said to diplomats at the start of the meeting, "With transparency in mind, Japan will continue providing the international community with information (on the Fukushima situation)."
The meeting comes after South Korea, locked in a trade and territorial row with Japan, last month summoned a senior official from the Japanese embassy in Seoul, to ask about Japan's stance on dealing with the Fukushima water.
However, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official stated that briefings for diplomats on the matter have been held more than 100 times since the March 2011 disaster, and the one on Wednesday was held to pass information discussed at the latest government panel meeting in August.
More than eight years after the accident, Japan has yet to decide on what to do with the radioactive water. A government-commissioned panel has picked five options, including the controlled release of the water into the Pacific Ocean. The panel recently added a sixth option of long-term storage.