Global Politics

Fukushima Leaks Up the Ante for Japanese Government




An aerial view shows the Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and its contaminated water storage tanks (top) in Fukushima, in this photo taken by Kyodo August 31, 2013. Japan pledged nearly $500 million to contain leaks and decontaminate radioactive water from the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, stepping up government efforts to cope with the legacy of the worst atomic disaster in a quarter of a century. The announcement comes just days before the International Olympic Committee decides whether Tokyo - 230 km (140 miles) from the wrecked plant - will host the 2020 Olympic Games and the government is keen to show the crisis is under control. Madrid and Istanbul are the rival candidates. Picture taken August 31, 2013. Mandatory Credit. REUTERS/Kyodo (JAPAN - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT SPORT OLYMPICS) ATTENTION EDITORS - MANDATORY CREDIT. THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN - RTX135CQ

Japan's government has announced that it's taking over part of the stabilization effort at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after a string of revelations about leaks of radioactive water there. Host Marco Werman speaks with Jeff Kingston of Temple University Japan about the status of the cleanup, what's at stake for the government, and the government's delicate relationship with TEPCO, the company that owns the plant.

Player utilities

(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)
  • RTX12UVF.jpg


    © Issei Kato / Reuters

    Workers move waste containing radiated soil, leaves and debris from the decontamination operation at a storage site in Naraha town, which is inside the formerly no-go zone of a 20 km (12 mile) radius around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and currently a designated evacuation zone, Fukushima prefecture, August 24, 2013. The most ambitious radiation clean-up ever attempted has proved costly, complex and time-consuming since the Japanese government began it more than two years in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. It may also fail. There is also the problem of storage. Most of the contaminated soil and leaves remain piled up in driveways and empty lots because of fierce opposition from local communities to storing it in one place until the Ministry of Environment secures a central site that could hold it for the longer term. REUTERS/Issei Kato (JAPAN - Tags: DISASTER POLITICS ENVIRONMENT BUSINESS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX12UVF

  • fukushima_graphic.jpg

    Timeline highlighting recent problems reported by Tepco at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Plant. (Graphic: REUTERS)