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Japanese PM visits Fukushima nuclear plant
Publication Date : 08-10-2012
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda visited Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant Sunday to see the site of the country's worst nuclear crisis first-hand and offer gratitude to workers.
It was Noda's second visit to the plant following one he made soon after his inauguration as prime minister in September last year.
Having secured his second term as head of the Democratic Party of Japan last month, and reshuffling his Cabinet last Monday, Noda is poised to reveal his stance of tackling the Fukushima nuclear crisis as his administration's No. 1 task, sources said.
Before arriving at the nuclear plant, Noda visited J-Village, a J.League national training centre in the town of Naraha in the prefecture that now serves as the base for nuclear crisis-related work.
He met with workers who remained at the scene despite facing life-threatening dangers after the crisis began following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.
Noda told them: "I'd like to express my appreciation for your endeavors, as I believe you must have faced difficulties beyond words.
"Please accept my words of gratitude as a member of this nation for your having worked so hard in such an appalling, severe environment."
After expressing thanks to the workers, Noda entered the nuclear plant, inspecting the fifth floor of the No. 4 reactor building, where the main problem is retrieving spent nuclear fuel from the fuel pool.
Noda also inspected the central control rooms for the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors.
In the afternoon, Noda made an on-site inspection of radiation cleanup operations and a temporary storage site for contaminated soil in Naraha. He then visited a rice- inspection facility in Motomiya in the prefecture.