Monday, Jan. 30, 2012
SENDAI — Environment Minister Goshi Hosono said Saturday that the government must do more to persuade cities and prefectures to store tsunami debris so disaster-hit areas can rebuild.
“We are having a tough time implementing the disposal of rubble across a wide area. But we need to make local governments aware of how severely they are suffering in disaster-ravaged areas,” Hosono said in talks with Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai.
Murai handed Hosono a letter asking him to promote debris disposal.
“We will do our utmost to clean up the rubble within the prefecture, but we have to depend on other areas if it is beyond our disposal capability,” Murai said.
After the meeting, Hosono told reporters that while many municipalities and prefectures outside the disaster zone support waste disposal, most do not volunteer to take it.
“I expect local governments (outside the tsunami zone) will become willing to accept the rubble if they become more aware of the serious situation there,” Hosono said.
A number of municipalities across Japan have reported that residents are mainly concerned that they might be contaminated by radioactive fallout from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant if their areas are used to store and dispose of tainted debris.
Before he spoke with the Miyagi governor, Hosono visited some temporary waste storage sites in Ishinomaki, where tsunami rubble is piled as high as 25 meters.
He also confirmed that the radiation level of the debris at the site was 0.05 microsievert per hour, or about the same as that in surrounding areas.
The only city that has formally decided to accept tsunami debris is Tokyo.