Japanese Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada has said he thinks the only way to stop the buildup of wastewater that is contaminated with radioactive tritium at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is to release it into the sea.
About 170 tons of wastewater containing mostly tritium is building up at the nuclear plant each day. Wastewater from the damaged reactor buildings is cleared of most other radioactive substances.
Harada told reporters on Tuesday that there doesn't appear to be many options other than releasing the processed wastewater into the sea to dilute it.
When a reporter asked him to confirm the remark, Harada reiterated he thinks it is the only way to go.
Harada added, however, that he should not be commenting lightly on how to proceed because of the gravity of the matter.
He said the government must first explain safety measures and scientific standards to people at home and abroad with utmost sincerity to avoid damage from negative rumors.
Japan's Nuclear Regulation Agency maintains that diluting wastewater below environmental standards and releasing it into the sea is a scientifically acceptable method of disposal.
But local residents and others are concerned about such a move.