Tepco says ‘decision has already been made’ to release radioactive, low-toxic tritium into sea; fishermen irate

“The decision has already been made,” Takashi Kawamura, chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., said in a recent interview with media outlets, referring to the discharge of tritium, which remains in filtered water even after highly toxic radioactive materials are removed from water used to cool the damaged reactors at the plant.

At other nuclear power plants, tritium-containing water has routinely been released into the sea after it is diluted. But the move by Tepco has prompted worries among local fishermen about the potential ramifications for their livelihood as public perceptions about fish and other marine products caught off Fukushima could worsen.

They are the first public remarks by the utility’s management on the matter, as Tepco continues its cleanup of toxic water and tanks containing it continue to fill the premises of the plant, where three reactors suffered meltdowns after tsunami flooded the complex in March 2011 following a massive earthquake.

Kawamura’s comments came at a time when a government panel is still debating how to deal with tritium-containing water at the Fukushima plant, including whether to dump it into sea.

Saying its next move is contingent on the panel’s decision, Kawamura indicated in the interview that Tepco will wait for a decision by the government before it actually starts releasing the water into sea.

Radioactive tritium, said to pose little risk to human health, will be released from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power complex into the sea, according to a top official of the plant operator. (Japan Times)

The death toll from last week’s record rainfall in northern Kyushu has risen to 30. (NHK)

Kanagawa Prefectural Police said officers found the bodies of two people packed in separate bags in woods along a road in Hadano and they are investigating to determine if the deceased are sisters of Chinese nationality who lived in Yokohama and vanished on July 7. (Japan Times)

The U.S. Senate confirmed private equity executive William Hagerty on Thursday as President Donald Trump’s ambassador to Japan, filling a post considered especially crucial in light of neighboring North Korea’s recent missile tests. (Japan Today)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday he will explain before a parliamentary committee the favoritism scandal with a school operator run by his close friend at the center. (Jiji)

Japan hanged two death-row inmates Thursday morning, the Justice Ministry said, including a man convicted of multiple murders who had reportedly been seeking a retrial. (Japan Times)

Osaka Prefectural Police have launched an investigation into Keisuke Koide over an alleged “inappropriate relationship” with a girl under the age of 18, the details of which appeared in a weekly magazine last month, reports Nippon News Network (tokyoreporter.com)

A 71-year-old nurse has been arrested on a charge of attempted murder after allegedly drugging the drinks of two people and causing them to have a car accident, the Chiba Prefectural Police said. (Japan Times)

Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands, is filled with beautiful scenery, but one of the best concentrations is to be found in the town of Biei. With rolling hills and lush farmland, it’s enough to make anyone stop for a moment and drink it all in, especially if you’ve just come from Tokyo or one of the country’s other urban population centers. (rocketnews24.com)

An undersea earthquake off the coast of North Korea was not caused by a nuclear test, the South’s media reported Thursday. (Japan Times)

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