Speaking to Olympic chiefs in Buenos Aires just ahead of their weekend decision to award the Games to Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said there was nothing to worry about at the plant.
“Let me assure you, the situation is under control,” he said in a speech lauded by Japanese media as key to Tokyo’s success.
“It has never done and will never do any damage to Tokyo.”
“Contaminated water has been contained in a 0.3 square-kilometre area of the harbour,” he added in a question-and-answer session.
“There have been no health problems and nor will there be. I will be taking responsibility for all the programmes with regard to the plant and the leaks.”
Critics at home and abroad say Abe’s gloss on the disaster at Fukushima, where a tsunami swamped cooling systems and sent reactors into meltdown, is bordering on the dishonest.
“I was flabbergasted by Abe’s speech,” said Hiroaki Koide, an associate professor at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute.