Then Defense Minister Ichikawa inspects GSDF decontamination operations

Then Defense Minister Ichikawa on his way to the inspection
Then Defense Minister Ichikawa on his way to the inspection
Then Defense Minister Ichikawa being briefed about the activities
Then Defense Minister Ichikawa being briefed about the activities

On December 11 of last year then Minister of Defense Yasuo Ichikawa visited Tomioka Town and Namie Town, which are currently designated as no-entry zones as a result of the accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, to observe decontamination operations being carried out there by some 900 SDF personnel. After receiving a briefing concerning activities at J-Village, an athletics facility in Naraha Town, from Commanding General of the North Eastern Army Takashi Watanabe and the head of the 6th Division Masahiro Hidaka, former Minister Ichikawa changed into protective clothing and was guided by 6th Artillery Regiment Commander Kodama on an inspection of the decontamination operations, where the minister offered words of encouragement to personnel on duty.

Moreover, former Minister Ichikawa passed nearby Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and headed towards Namie Town, where he inspected the decontamination operations of the 44th Infantry Regiment, which were underway in the area. In a press briefing following the inspection, former Minister Ichikawa commented on the decontamination operations, saying, “While this is a priority issue being addressed by the entire Cabinet, this is an unfamiliar type of work for SDF personnel. Nevertheless, it plays an important role in creating an environment that will allow residents from the affected areas to promptly return home. I hope that the SDF will continue to maintain pride in their work and give it their best.”

GSDF decontamination operations

SDF personnel carrying out decontamination activities
SDF personnel carrying out decontamination activities

On December 6 of last year the Meeting of Related Ministers on Decontamination and Treatment of Specific Waste was held. The decision was made for the GSDF to commence decontamination operations in cooperation with related ministries, including the Ministry of the Environment (MOE).

These operations were being carried out in order to prepare a base for full-fledged decontamination operations that would be launched on January 1 under the direct jurisdiction of the MOE.

For approximately two weeks starting on December 7 of last year, roughly 900 personnel mainly from the 44th Infantry Regiment and the 6th Artillery Regiment conducted operations around government offices in Fukushima Prefecture’s Tomioka Town, Namie Town, Naraha Town, and Iidate Village. Operations included the removal of contaminated soil from street gutters, collection of fallen leaves, removal of topsoil, and the high-pressure washing of surfaces such as the asphalt of parking lots. These decontamination activities allowed for the creation of a safe base to be used for reconstruction activities, establishing an environment that will allow evacuated residents to promptly return to their community.

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