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EDITORIAL: Parties face acid test in dealing with Fukushima reconstruction

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It is probably difficult for the communities in Fukushima Prefecture ravaged by the nuclear disaster to describe the weight of their struggles over the past 10 or so years.

The government has decided to allow Tokyo Electric Power Co. to release treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.

Starting in 2023, radiation-contaminated water still being generated because of the need to cool melted nuclear fuel at the wrecked facility will be dumped into the sea after being treated with special equipment to eliminate most of the highly radioactive materials.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. says the tanks storing the water within the complex will reach capacity in the next couple of years. But there are legitimate concerns the discharge could spawn harmful rumors that deliver an additional blow to already damaged local businesses, the fishing industry, in particular.

There is no telling when the evacuation order will be lifted for a large swath of the areas near the crippled plant with high levels of radiation, known as “kitaku konnan kuiki” (difficult-to-return zone). A total of 34,000 people still live as evacuees in other parts of Fukushima Prefecture or outside the prefecture.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida,........

© The Asahi Shimbun

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