September 19 - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzō Abe has today ordered the scrapping of all six reactors at the nation's Fukushima nuclear plant instead of just the four already scheduled for decommissioning and urged the facility's operator to focus on tackling other issues such as radioactive water leaks.
Following a three-hour tour of the crippled plant, he demanded that Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) also decommission the five and six reactors, which survived the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, while promising to quash rumours about the safety of Fukushima.
"I told [TEPCO] to ensure decommissioning of reactors No five and six so that they can concentrate more on dealing with the accident," Abetold workers and reporters at the plant's emergency command centre.
"I will work hard to counter rumours questioning the safety of the Fukushima plant."
Tokyo Electric President Naomi Hirose has promised that the company will make a decision on the decommissioning of the two reactors within the year and will finish treating contaminated water at Fukushima by March 2015.
Abe's visit to the plant, 240km north of Tokyo, came after he pledged that the Government would take a more central role in the clean up as part of Tokyo's successful bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics - a commitment he says he will stand by to ensure a safe Games.
"One of the main purposes of this visit was to see it for myself, after I made those remarks [to the International Olympic Committee] on how the contaminated water has been handled," Abe said.
Last week, however, senior TEPCO official Kazuhiko Yamashita contradicted Abe and insisted that the water situation was "not under control".
TEPCO later said Yamashita was referring to isolated incidents and had not contradicted Abe's comments.
Earlier this month, Japan's Government revealed plans to invest ¥47 billion (£304 million/$473 million/€340 million) into building a frozen wall around the Fukushima plant to stop leaks of radioactive water.
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