FUKUSHIMA — Goshi Hosono, state minister in charge of dealing with the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, said Saturday the central government will provide full financial support to dispose of radioactive waste at the site.
Hosono said during a meeting with Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato that the government will consider addressing the radioactive waste issue “as its own responsibility — without leaving the matter to local municipalities.”
Hosono was responding to Sato’s demand that all expenses for radioactive waste disposal in connection with the crisis are covered by the central government. Sato complained that the Cabinet of Prime Minister Naoto Kan has no unified view on handling the waste issue and needs to act swiftly.
After the meeting, Hosono told reporters that more time is needed before deciding when to reduce the areas subject to possible evacuation.
“Confirming that the areas concerned are safe enough should come first before we discuss the matter with local authorities and then make a final decision,” he said.
In April, about 67,000 residents in a zone 20 to 30 km from the plant were directed to be prepared to evacuate or stay indoors if the crisis warrants it.
On Thursday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the government is considering narrowing such areas, noting that the situation at the plant is unlikely to worsen rapidly after “Step 1” of the fight to bring the crisis under control is completed.