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Tokyo Governor slams Fukushima coverage on eve of 2020 Olympics vote

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, September 6, 2013 14:55 EDT
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Fukushima workers via AFP
 
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Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose blasted the media coverage of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on Friday and said that people should not believe in scare stories but on basis and facts.

The 66-year-old was appearing at Tokyo’s final press conference on the eve of the vote as to who of they, Istanbul or Madrid hosts the 2020 Olympic Games .

He added that the Japanese Government had taken control of the crisis.

The crisis surrounding the plant – which suffered the damage when an earthquake and tsunami hit north eastern Japan in March 2011 killing over 18,000 people – has dogged the bid’s every press conference this week.

Beleaguered plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) has revealed highly toxic water may have made its way into the Pacific Ocean. The utility also says up to 300 tonnes of mildly radioactive groundwater is making its way into the sea every day.

Inose, whose wife died of cancer in July with Saturday having extra significance for him as it marks 49 days since her death which is a symbolic anniversary in the Buddhist religion for remembering the dead, said he believed everything was now being done that needed to be done.

“What happened in Fukushima in terms of the tsunami and the earthquake was an event that only takes place once every 1000 years, the last time being in 869,” he said in answer to a question as to whether it was fair IOC members had for the first time this week begun voicing their reluctance to vote for them because of the problem.

“With the leaking contaminated water what can we do? Well Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe said on August 8th that TEPCO should no longer be in charge and measures were put in place. On the 3rd of September $500million were set aside to tackle this project.

“The entire government is taking responsibility. Furthermore this contaminated water covers an area of 0.3 square kilometres and we will be able to see the directionality it takes.

“So much rumour has been conveyed by the media. When it was discussed by the Cabinet on September 3 on what to do the paper was published in both Japanese and English.

“First of all you should read the statement and then ask questions.

“Fact and basis should be reported. We will provide all the data and that will be fair.”

Inose, who said all food was checked for contamination when it was brought in from outside Tokyo and despite the levels being the same as you would find in New York because of the scare stories it was left unsold, said the government could not have taken action any earlier.

“The contaminated water was discovered very recently and the Government took urgent action,” he said.

Japan’s eloquent 27-year-old double fencing Olympic silver medalist Yuki Ota – who has appeared at all three of their press conferences – said his goal after visiting the devastated areas was a simple one.

“Winning the Games will restore the smiles on the faces of the children.”

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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