Hokkaido Town Decides to Apply for N-Waste Site Survey

Politics

Suttsu/Kamoenai, Hokkaido, Oct. 8 (Jiji Press)--The mayor of a Japanese town on Thursday announced its decision to apply for a first-stage survey to choose a municipality to host a planned final disposal site for high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.

This marks a step forward in the long-stalled issue of the nuclear waste disposal site. But residents of Suttsu, in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, are still divided over the matter, with opponents concerned over possible harmful rumors, among other things.

"Now that briefing sessions for residents and industry groups were over, we decided today to apply" for the so-called literature survey, Suttsu Mayor Haruo Kataoka told a news conference in the town. While pros and cons were almost evenly matched on the matter at Thursday's council meeting of all members of the Suttsu town assembly, the chair finally stated that the assembly will "respect the mayor's political judgment."

"It's important to spread discussions" at the state, prefectural and municipal levels, Kataoka said. On the subsidies of up to 2 billion yen, to be supplied by the central government in return for accepting the survey, Kataoka said, "We'll use the money for an effective investment for the future."

At a news conference in Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said that the central government "is grateful for positive debates, including the town mayor's announcement of the decision to apply (for the survey)."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press