TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's reassurance to the International Olympic Committee that contaminated water leaks from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant are "under control" has backfired at home.
Just hours before Tokyo was chosen to host the 2020 Olympics, Abe gave an emphatic speech declaring that radioactive contaminants from the leakage were "completely blocked" in waters inside the bay near the plant.
But the Japanese media and opposition lawmakers have suggested that Abe's comments were overkill.
The leakage of radioactive underground water to the sea and spills from storage tanks have sparked concerns in Japan and around the world.
Hikariko Ono of the prime minister's office on Saturday defended Abe's pledge, citing offshore monitoring results showing undetectable radioactivity. The government has stepped up efforts to contain the leaks.
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