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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday the impact from accumulating radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been "under control."
The government will "continue efforts to address the problem with multiple preventive measures that will put together wisdom in the world," Abe told a plenary session of the House of Representatives.
"The situation has been under control as a whole," Abe added, answering questions from Banri Kaieda, head of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, about the policy speech Abe delivered Tuesday when the Diet convened an extraordinary session.
Abe has repeatedly presented such an assessment on the situation at the Fukushima plant affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan, raising the eyebrows of some critics who regard the condition as worrying and warn of possible negative fallout on the environment and industries.
The premier's assertion was also made -- and caused argument -- last month when he made a presentation to the International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires for Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Olympics. The city won the bid by beating Istanbul and Madrid.
Kaieda said Wednesday that Abe should be more careful about assessing the situation at the plant, criticizing his remarks as being "extremely flippant."
Radioactive water is increasing daily at the plant as groundwater is seeping into reactor buildings and mixing with water used to cool the three crippled reactors.
The contaminated water is kept in some 1,000 tanks set up at the site, and the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. is struggling to prevent leaks from the storage tanks.
Abe also reiterated in the lower house that the government will play major roles in addressing the water problem, not leaving the task to the company alone. The government has unveiled a basic policy to handle the situation, including potential financial assistance for the utility.
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