27 Juin 2017
June 26, 2017
Japanese government conveys regret over Moon’s Fukushima nuclear crisis remarks
SEOUL – The government has expressed regret over recent remarks by South Korean President Moon Jae-in about the March 2011 crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, according to sources.
“The accident in 2011 at the Fukushima nuclear power plant brought the death toll to 1,368 as of March 2016,” Moon said in a speech June 19 in which he announced plans to review South Korea’s nuclear power policy comprehensively based on lessons from the Fukushima accident.
The Japanese government told a counselor at the South Korean Embassy in Tokyo that “the remark is very regrettable as it is not based on a correct understanding of the accident,” informed sources said Monday.
The regret was conveyed Thursday, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
After Moon made the remark, some people pointed out that the comment could cause misunderstanding since it has no clear basis.
A ministry official said Japan will boost its efforts to provide correct information about the accident in order to dispel harmful rumors.
The plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. was heavily damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, with three reactors suffering a meltdown. Nobody was killed directly in the accident.
Also in the speech, delivered at a ceremony to mark the closure of the oldest nuclear reactor in South Korea, Moon said, “Worse yet, it is impossible to even grasp the number of deaths or cancers caused by radioactive contamination.”
In documents released Friday to explain Moon’s remarks, the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said some Japanese media reported on March 6 last year that 1,368 people had died during protracted life in evacuation.
An interim report on health surveys on Fukushima residents that was compiled in March 2016 by the prefectural government said cases of thyroid cancer that had been detected in the prefecture since the accident are unlikely to have been caused by effects from radiation.
The report also said that external exposure suffered by Fukushima residents are not at levels that pose health hazards.