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The Japanese government seeks understanding from the mayor of Genkai on the investigation of nuclear waste sites; Mayor emphasizes the importance of further discussions


The Yomiuri Shimbun
Genkai Mayor Shintaro Wakiyama, left, speaks with Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Ken Saito, second from right, at the ministry in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Ken Saito met with the mayor of Genkai, Saga Prefecture, on Tuesday to seek his understanding on conducting a study related to the construction of a final disposal site in the city for high-level radioactive waste from nuclear energy generation.

In April, the municipality of Genkai gave permission to conduct a study to determine whether the city was suitable as a location for the final disposal site.

During Tuesday’s meeting, held at the ministry in Tokyo, Genkai Mayor Shintaro Wakiyama expressed his intention to continue exploring the feasibility of conducting the study.

“I’m torn between the ideas proposed by the meeting and my own,” Wakiyama said.

Wakiyama said he had repeatedly opposed the idea of ​​conducting a survey, but that he took the decision of the assembly members, who represent residents, very seriously.

The mayor also emphasized the importance of expanding the debate nationally.

“Since the selection of a disposal site is an important issue, I would like to do more to help the public better understand the issue,” Wakiyama said.

Saito said he would like to thank Wakiyama for continuing to consider the matter.

“I would like to actively provide any explanations and information on the matter,” Saito said.

The survey is the first part of a three-phase process to select the final disposal site.

On April 26, the Genkai Assembly passed three petitions calling for the investigation to be conducted by majority vote. A senior official from the Natural Resources and Energy Agency subsequently visited the city on May 1 and requested that the investigation be conducted under Saito’s name.

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