Japan PM seeks overseas help on Fukushima leak

TOKYO (AP) - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday that Japan is open to receiving overseas help to contain widening radioactive water leaks at the crippled nuclear plant in Fukushima, with leaks and mishaps reported almost daily.

Abe made the comments in a speech at an international science forum in Kyoto in western Japan.

"We are wide open to receive the most advanced knowledge from overseas to contain the problem," Abe said in his English speech to open the conference on energy and environment.

"My country needs your knowledge and expertise," he said.

Despite Abe's reassurances to the International Olympic Committee last month that the leaks were "under control," many Japanese believe he was glossing over problems at the plant.

Abe did not say whether he still thinks the leaks are under control, or give any specifics about foreign participation.

His comments come just days after the plant's operator acknowledged that highly contaminated water spilled from a storage tank as workers tried to fill it to the top.

Officials have acknowledged that the ground water contaminated with radioactive leaks has been seeping into the Pacific since soon after meltdowns following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Recent leaks from storage tanks have added to public concerns.

Japan has been criticized for its perceived reluctance in accepting foreign assistance to fight the problems at the plant, where the ongoing water leaks are hampering decommissioning work that is expected to last decades.

Japan recently set up an organization among major utilities and nuclear experts to discuss decommissioning, including several advisers from countries such as France and Britain and Russia.

The industry and trade ministry last month started accepting project proposals from private companies and groups to tackle the contaminated water problem, but English version was added only after criticisms that the Japanese-only notice signaled exclusion of foreign participation.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Top Stories

  • Seahawks Schedule
    The Seahawks have released the 2014 regular-season schedule

  • Save the Buses?
    A group is gathering signatures to save transit, but Michael Medved has another solution

  • 21 and Over
    If 21 is the legal age for alcohol and marijuana, why not cigarettes?
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know a student who stands out in the classroom, school and community?
Help make their dreams come true by nominating them for a $1,000 scholarship and a chance to earn a $10,000 Grand Prize. Brought to you by KIRO Radio and Comprehensive Wealth Management.

Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.