70% of Fukushima people see understanding not deepened over treated nuclear plant water

A recent opinion poll of residents in Fukushima Prefecture, conducted jointly by Fukushima-Minpo Co. and Fukushima Television Broadcasting Co., found 70.7% of respondents think national understanding "has not deepened at all" or "has not much deepened" about treated radioactive water accumulating at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant. Critical comments accusing the government of a lack of sufficient explanation to the general public have flowed constantly since its April 13 decision to release the water, treated but still containing tritium, into the sea. The latest prefectural poll, the 33rd of its kind, has substantiated this. The survey shows that 32.8% of the 717 people polled saw national understanding of the treated water issue has "not deepened at all" and 37.9% "not much deepened." Of respondents supporting the administration of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, 56.2% regarded public understanding as "not deepened at all" or "not much deepened" while 81.6% of those not favoring the Suga government saw such understanding "not deepened at all" or "not much deepened." The results made clear the reality that the vast majority of people in Fukushima are frustrated at the lack of progress in improving understanding of the treated water situation, irrespective of whether people support or oppose the Suga administration. Meanwhile, 5.3% saw national understanding "deepened very well" and 18.0% "deepened to some extent," bringing the total to 23.3%, while 6.0% said they "don't know." Following the government decision to release the treated water into the sea, Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori said on April 15 that he does "not see the current situation as showing sufficient (public) understanding at present," pointing out insufficient government efforts. He was followed on April 30 by four prefectural organizations -- JA Fukushima Chuo-kai, or the central union of Japan Agricultural Cooperatives (JA) members in Fukushima, the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations, the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Forestry Cooperative Associations, and the Fukushima Consumers' Cooperative Union. The groups issued a joint statement blasting the government for not providing sufficient explanation to people in the prefecture and emphasizing they "can in no way accept" the planned release of the treated water into the ocean. (Translated by Kyodo News)