Japan PM Abe in Fukushima visit

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to visit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, amid public concern over radioactive water leaks.

Mr Abe will view storage tanks holding radioactive water and water treatment equipment at the plant during his three-hour tour, officials said.

Earlier this month, radiation levels near the plant’s water tanks rose to a record high, according to officials.

The plant has been hit by several leaks in recent months.

“Today, I will enter the Fukushima Daiichi Plant,” Mr Abe wrote on his official Facebook page. “I will do my utmost to protect people’s health and the sea.”

He is expected to view areas where radioactive leaks have been identified, and meet representatives from plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco).

Mr Abe last visited the plant shortly after he took office in December.

The plant was crippled by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Cooling systems for reactors were knocked out, causing meltdowns at three of them.

Water is being pumped in to cool the reactors, however this creates large amounts of contaminated water that must be stored securely.

Some of the water has leaked from the tanks, pipes, and damaged structures, leading to concerns contaminated water is mixing with groundwater that is flowing into the sea.

Earlier this month, the government pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to build a wall of frozen earth around the reactors in order to contain some leaks.

Speaking at the time, government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the government “felt it was essential to become involved to the greatest extent possible”.

During Japan’s successful 2020 Olympic bid process, Mr Abe assured the International Olympic Committee that the situation at Fukushima was “under control”.