Tepco will soon have no more storage capacity for the contaminated water from the cooling pipes, which has prevented the melting of the fuel cores since the tsunami in 2011, explained Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada. "The only way will be to drain the water into the sea and dilute it." The entire government will discuss it.
The government in Tokyo is currently waiting for a report from a team of experts before making a final decision on the disposal of radioactive water.
Japan's Cabinet Minister Yoshihide Suga described Harada's statements in a separate press conference as "his personal opinion". A Tepco spokesman, on the other hand, stressed that the company would not decide for itself, but would follow the guidelines of the government. The fact is, however, that from 2022 the company will no longer have any space for water storage.
Should Tokyo give the go-ahead for the disposal of contaminated water into the ocean, neighbouring countries such as South Korea could be called upon to do so.
Seoul called in a high-ranking embassy official last month to clarify how the Fukushima water is being handled.
"We just hope to learn more details about the ongoing discussions in Tokyo so there won't be any surprises," a South Korean diplomat told Reuters news agency. The South Korean Foreign Ministry stated that it had asked Japan to "make a wise and cautious decision on this issue".