Tokyo: Kono runs for premiership. IAEA investigation on Fukushima waters

The official candidacy will be announced today at a press conference. In the past, Kono, who runs the national vaccine campaign, has gone against the mainstream of the Liberal Democratic Party and is ahead in the polls. The U.N. atomic agency has promised to review plan to release water treated at the Fukushima nuclear plant.



Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Administrative Reform Minister Taro Kono will participate in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership race. He reported this himself to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who in recent weeks announced his resignation. The two held a meeting this morning and Kono, who is in charge of the vaccination campaign in Japan and is very popular in the polls, will announce his candidacy at a press conference later today.

He would be the third GOP figure to do so, following former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and former Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi. Internal party elections will be held on Sept. 29 to elect Suga's successor. Kono has gone against the party's mainstream in the past, calling for Japan to abandon nuclear power and also allow women from the imperial family to ascend the throne.

Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today promised a "comprehensive" and "objective" review of Japan's plan to release treated water at the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea. Tons of radioactive water accumulated in the plant's reservoirs following the 2011 accident. The IAEA approved the release of the diluted liquid, which it says is similar to wastewater disposal at other nuclear plants.

The Japanese government's decision in April to proceed with the spill (which could begin in March 2023) sparked anger from neighboring countries, which fear environmental and human health damage. But it has also generated strong opposition from local fishing communities, worried about losing (again) the trust of consumers after years of reassurances about the safety of their products.