Go to contents

Tokyo expresses regret for Moon’s remarks on Fukushima nuke disaster

Tokyo expresses regret for Moon’s remarks on Fukushima nuke disaster

Posted June. 28, 2017 07:20,   

Updated June. 28, 2017 07:29


The Japanese government expressed regret to the Korean government for what President Moon Jae-in commented on the number of deaths due to the Fukushima nuclear power accident, calling it “factually inaccurate,” the Jiji Press reported on Tuesday.

“We regret (President Moon’s remarks) because they are not based on accurate understanding of facts,” the Japanese foreign ministry told a senior diplomat at the Korean embassy in Japan on Thursday last week. President Moon made the remarks when declaring his administration’s decision to terminate the era of nuclear power plants as energy source at a ceremony to proclaim "complete halt of Gori 1 Nuclear Power Plant" on Monday last week. “Japan was considered the country that is better prepared for an earthquake than any other countries in the world, but a total of 1,368 people died as of March 2016 due to the Fukushima nuclear accident,” Moon said. “The number of deaths and patients who developed cancer due to radioactive materials following the accident cannot even be figured out.”

After Moon’s remarks, the Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun quoted an official at Japan’s Reconstruction Agency, as saying, “It is perplexing because we cannot know which source he cited.” The agency in charge of recovering damages from the East Japan Earthquake defined people who died due to deteriorating health during their evacuation period among the displaced people as "earthquake disaster-related deaths," but has not separately tallied the number of "deaths due to the nuclear power plant accident." The reason it cited is that it is sometimes difficult tell whether a death is due to the earthquake, tsunami or the nuclear plant accident.

In its briefing material on President Moon’s remarks released on Friday last week, the Korean Trade, Industry and Energy Ministry claimed, “Some Japanese media outlets reported on March 6, 2016 that ‘the number of those who has died while in evacuation from the disaster so far amounts to 1,368.’” The Korean ministry argued that the figure 1,368 was tallied by the Tokyo Shimbun based on documents filed to seek condolence money, which local governments within Fukushima Prefecture had received.

Young-A Soh sya@donga.com