Japanese Lawmaker says Abe lied to Olympic committee
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared before the International Olympic Committee that the situation at Fukushima was “under control” and that “effects from the contaminated water have been perfectly blocked within the (man made) bay” adjacent to the nuclear plant.
After touring the plant on Thursday, Abe repeated his assurances. He told reporters, “effects from cintaminated water have been perfectly blocked within the bay. By stating this clearly, I want to bring to an end harmful rumors about Fukushima.”
Other government officials have backed Abe’s claims, pointing to monitoring results which show radiation levels within the bay within safety limits set by the government. However, some experts say the levels only remain low because seawater entering the bay is diluting its contents.
In fact Tepco itself admitted that a large volume of water was escaping the bay and entering the ocean. According to a simulation Tepco ran, a maximum of 10 trillion becquerels of radioactive strontium-90 and 20 trillion becquerels of cesium-137 may have already reached the ocean. That doesn’t sound “perfectly contained” to me.
Teruhiko Mashiko, a member of Japan’s diet’s upper house and vice president of the opposition party. The Democratic Party of Japan, said in an interview with The Japan Times, “During the presentation for the Olympic Games, Prime Minister Abe told a lie. This is a big problem. The government should invest more people, money and technologies to turn their lies into truths.” Mr. Mashiko represents Fukushima Prefecture in the diet.
Mashiko has voiced his concerns about the storage tanks holding contaminated water at the plant. Of the more than 1000 tanks at the site, 350 are of the less sturdy flange type instead of the more durable welded tanks. Of the 350, 5 have already sprung leaks. Mashiko also claimed that last spring, a local tank manufactured warned that the tanks were not very good quality and could start linking within 2 years. Tepco approached the tank maker, asking for 6 low cost tanks to be made within a month. The company refused because the quality would have been poor and the contract conditions were bad.
At recent news conferences, a Tepco spokesman has repeatedly refused to comment on Mashiko’s remarks or give any information about storage tank contracts. He stated Tepco does not disclose information about private contracts. Many believe Tepco has been using the cheaper tanks to try and save money on the growing costs of the operation.
Instead of making blanket statements and giving empty reassurances, the Japanese government should be taking action. The area of the plant has been hit by an earthquake and a typhoon in the past week alone. Every single one of those 350 cheaply built tanks should be replaced immediately. The Japanese government needs to stop relying on Tepco to manage the situation. It is abundantly clear that Tepco is not up to the job, nor does it have the confidence or trust of the public.
As far as Mr. Abe is concerned, I think we should start calling him “Dishonest Abe”. (For non Americans “Honest Abe” was a title given to American President Abraham Lincoln.) We need to see actions not just words from Dishonest Abe. Declaring dangerous situations safe and under control is not just dishonest, it is dangerous. It is time for Dishonest Abe to come up with real solutions and not empty platitudes.
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