Japan's agriculture minister on Thursday referred to the Fukushima nuke wastewater released into the ocean as "contaminated water" instead of the term "treated water" insisted by the Japanese government, triggering criticism from Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
"We exchanged information on the subsequent evaluation of contaminated water," Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Tetsuro Nomura told reporters after his meeting with Kishida at the prime minister's official residence.
Nomura's choice of wording clearly angered the prime minister, who stated that he found the statement "regrettable" and has instructed an apology and withdrawal of the statement, according to local media outlets.
Hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant suffered core meltdowns that released radiation, resulting in a level-7 nuclear accident, the highest on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale.
The plant has been generating a massive amount of water tainted with radioactive substances, and the discharge is planned to continue for over 30 years, according to its operator Tokyo Electric Power Company.
As the Japanese government does everything possible to publicize the safety of radioactive water, the term "treated water" is generally used to refer to "nuclear-contaminated water," which is intended to downplay its pollution characteristics and potential hazards.
（Xinhua News Agency）