Japan MP Yasuhiro Sonoda drinks Fukushima water


Japan cabinet office spokesman Yasuhiro Sonoda looked nervous

A Japanese official has drunk water collected from the quake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, after reporters challenged him to prove it was safe.

Yasuhiro Sonoda appeared nervous and his hands shook as he downed a glass during a televised news conference.

The water he drank was taken from puddles under two reactor buildings. It is decontaminated before being used for tasks such as watering plants.

Journalists have repeatedly queried the safety of the procedure.

Mr Sonoda, who serves as the cabinet office's parliamentary spokesman, told the news conference: "Just drinking [decontaminated water] doesn't mean safety has been confirmed. Presenting data to the public is the best way."

Tsunami damage

In another sign of the government's growing confidence over the plant's safety, officials said they would allow journalists on to the site on 12 November.

It will be the first time journalists have toured the area since the 11 March earthquake and tsunami wrecked the plant, causing partial meltdowns in three of its reactors.

A 20km exclusion zone is still in force around the plant, and tens of thousands of people have had to abandon their homes.

The government has a target of the end of the year to bring the plant to a cold shutdown, when the reactors are stable and the water inside them is no longer boiling.

However, a preliminary report by a panel of nuclear experts says fully decommissioning the power station could take 30 years.

Away from Fukushima, the tsunami caused widespread devastation, swamping entire villages, killing thousands of people and leaving many more homeless.

The government struggled to deal with the magnitude of the disaster, and one prime minister has already stepped down largely because of his handling of the crisis.


More on This Story


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Does anybody seriously believe this water is actually from under the reactor? It's a stupid and clearly fake stunt. Does he think that this was better than just providing actual data to his people and the wider world? Typical politician, totally out of step with the rest of humanity!

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    This is ridiculous.
    just a cup watar won't mean it's safe nor that he somehow understand what it's like to live with fear of possible contamination.
    Zero information were givenfrom his action.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    As he himself stated, drinking the water doesn't prove anything. Did the journalists see him taking the water from the nuclear plant? This water could have come from a water bottle for all I know.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Wow, an MP who is willing to put his money where his mouth is, at where it is at the moment. It might be in a different place in 6 months. I think all MPs should do that sort of thing. "You want to go to war, you go up front mate!"

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    There is nothing wrong with this, if you assert something then you are obligated to prove it. I only hope the water is not contaminated with radioactive waste.


Comments 5 of 7


More Asia-Pacific stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.