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Environment minister apologizes to Fukushima governor over radiation comments

Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa bows to a senior ruling coalition member of the House of Representatives Budget Committee after a session on Feb. 10, 2016. (Mainichi)

Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa said on Feb. 12 that she telephoned Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori to apologize over a report on her remarks allegedly denying scientific evidence for the government's long-term goal of lowering the annual additional radiation exposure dose to 1 millisievert after the 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.

She also said at a post-Cabinet meeting news conference that she offered a similar apology to a local government leader in Fukushima Prefecture, saying she did not explain herself fully during a Feb. 7 meeting of House of Councillors members from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Nagano Prefecture.

Marukawa emphasized, though, that she has no plan to retract her comment, saying there was no record of her remarks and she cannot independently confirm them. She added that the current government will continue to maintain its long-term radiation level objective, work hard to achieve this goal, and also restore the areas hard hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster.

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