New Reconstruction Minister Vows to Regain Public Trust

Politics

Fukushima, Dec. 28 (Jiji Press)--Japan's new reconstruction minister Hiromichi Watanabe vowed to regain public trust on Wednesday, a day after his predecessor quit the post over a political funds scandal.

Offering an apology for the change of minister in a meeting with Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori, Watanabe, who assumed the post Tuesday, said that reconstruction following the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster is one of the cabinet's most important tasks.

Watanabe also said that he wants to deepen cooperation with local communities over the planned release into the sea of treated radioactive water from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which suffered a triple meltdown following the huge earthquake and tsunami.

Uchibori said that there are concerns and distrust among residents in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima, calling on Watanabe to rebuild trust and repeatedly show determination as new reconstruction minister.

After the meeting with Uchibori, Watanabe told reporters that he wants to work even more closely with people in disaster-affected areas, suggesting that he is eager to visit 12 coastal municipalities in Fukushima at an early date.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press