8 prefectures in north Japan want gov't to publicize precise info on tritium

The governments of eight prefectures in northern Japan, including Fukushima, Hokkaido and Niigata, agreed on Oct. 29 to urge the national administration to publicize precise information on tritium, a radioactive substance, widely at home and abroad to fend off reputational damage. The agreement was part of recommendations adopted at a meeting of their governors held in Fukushima city as the central government is reportedly in favor of releasing into the sea swelling tritium-containing water treated at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant crippled by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Sharing the perception that domestic and overseas understanding of the treated water is insufficient, the eight prefectures state in the recommendations that the national government should "fully discuss the effects (of the treated water) on the environment, prudentially examine how to dispose of wastewater while carefully explaining to the general public, and send out precise information at home and abroad." They also seek "proper disclosure of specific measures to address reputational damage" irrespective of details of a disposal policy to be determined by the government soon. The prefectures involved appear to have included in the recommendations the request for the transmission of precise information on treated water and for specific measures against reputational damage in the belief that these issues do not concern Fukushima alone but constitute challenges common to the eight entities. Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori expressed his awareness at a regular press conference on Oct. 26 that precise information on treated water has yet to fully get through to the public. Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai also told a regular news conference on Oct. 19 that "the proposed release into the ocean will affect not only Fukushima and adjacent prefectures but the nation as a whole," adding that the issue "also needs to be discussed by the National Governors' Association" consisting of the governors of Japan's 47 prefectures ■Show anti-coronavirus measures for cold areas The governors also adopted a resolution calling for improved and stronger measures to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. They urge the national government to show as soon as possible specific measures to deal with coronavirus infections, matching the needs of Hokkaido and the Tohoku northeastern region which face heavy snowfall and frigid weather in winter. The gist of the resolution is listed below. In the winter Hokkaido and Tohoku, residents face difficulties practicing prevention measures due to their lifestyle in which it is hard to frequently ventilate rooms and the time spent indoors is long, among other things, according to the resolution. In this connection, it says local surveys by experts and the identification of steps to be taken are necessary. The resolution also expresses concern over the present situation where cases of prejudice and discrimination shown against infected people are prevalent, calling on the national government to continue public enlightenment on the disease, improve and enhance consultation channels, and establish unified standards regarding the disclosure of information on infected people. It also seeks improvement in the medical care system and strategic expansion of PCR tests. Resolution on improvement and strengthening of anti-coronavirus measures: (1) Improvement in medical care system (2) Strategic expansion of PCR tests (3) "Go To" subsidy campaigns. (4) Financial support (5) Border quarantine control (6) Measures for areas hit by 2011 disaster (7) Elimination of acts of prejudice and discrimination, false rumors, etc. (8) Anti-infection measures in cold areas (Translated by Kyodo News)