The Japanese government on Tuesday decided to set, within a year, standards for compensating businesses that suffer losses due to rumors that may emerge when Japan starts discharging treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.
As neighboring countries such as China and South Korea have expressed worries over the release of the treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant slated for spring of 2023, the action plan includes having the International Atomic Energy Agency evaluate the safety of the water to secure transparency.
The government will also set up a fund using 30 billion yen ($261 million) earmarked in the fiscal 2021 supplementary budget to purchase seafood products when demand falls and promote online sales of products by fishery groups.
During a Cabinet meeting on the topic, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno called on members to "implement the measures swiftly and steadily and have as many consumers as possible be aware of the safety (of the processed water) to create an environment in which people in communities can continue operating and expand their businesses."
The action plan was formed as the government decided in April to allow Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to release significantly diluted contaminated water into the sea in a step-by-step operation.
More than 1 million tons of the treated water has accumulated on the plant's premises after a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011.
The water is treated using an advanced liquid processing system. The process removes most radioactive material except for tritium, which is said to pose few health risks.
Under the action plan, the government will set compensation plans for each industry such as fisheries, agriculture, commerce and tourism and decide which period to compare when calculating losses before the Fukushima plant operator, TEPCO, creates standards for compensation.
The IAEA will dispatch a survey team to the Fukushima Daiichi power plant to compile its mid-term safety evaluation report within 2022 and will have long-term involvement with the release of the water, according to the plan.
The plan also includes holding online surveys targeting consumers in South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and elsewhere from January to understand their perceptions of the treated water and food products from Fukushima Prefecture.