When the disaster struck a national outpouring of empathy brought with it offers of help from all over the country.
But these have since dried up and now there are few volunteers for taking waste from Miyagi and Iwate, amid fears it could be contaminated and would be dangerous to burn despite the use of filters in incinerators.
“We want to finish (the clean-up) in three years, but if things continue at the current rate that seems difficult, so we must accelerate,” said Hosono.
“We are taking additional measures, such as constructing temporary incineration sites, but even that will not be enough” without other municipalities playing a part, he said.
Tokyo has already agreed to take some of the debris, “but other localities have not decided anything,” he complained.
The government has sought to reassure opponents with a dedicated website aiming to explain exactly how the waste is dealt with.
It says the incinerators have fine enough filters to prevent radiation being released, and only waste below specific radiation levels will be burned in conventional facilities.
Hosono says ash produced by the incineration is safe.
“The radioactivity measured in the ash is 133 becquerels per kilogram, which is lower than the temporary level set for food, so there is no danger and no need to worry,” he said.
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