Alerted by EX-SKF blog, I found my city in a list of cities (published by AERA magazine, the list is replicated here – in Japanese only – with cities that have since withdrawn from the scheme highlighted in red) that had accepted a government request (back in April) to accept debris from the earthquake/tsunami area. However, this was before it was realized/discovered that much debris was radioactive. Has my city’s position changed? (Some cities have withdrawn their acceptance; they are marked in red in the replicated online list.) What is the current situation? I sent them an email, and they posted their answer on the city’s environment section homepage. Here it is (with my city’s name redacted, and my summary in English below):

さて、メールを頂いた件ですがX市におきましては、4月8日付けで環境省より「東日本大震災により生じた廃棄物の受入処理の依頼」について県廃棄物対 策課を通じて4月27日に受理致しました。本市としては、放射能汚染がないことを大前提として「生ごみ」、「可然性混合廃棄物」を受入可能な廃棄物とし て、県へ回答しており、国が安全基準等を明確に定め、災害廃棄物が放射能汚染のない安全なものであると確認できることが、受入の条件と考えております。

(My summary) Following an April 8th request from the Environment Ministry to accept debris from the quake-hit area, the city agreed on April 27th. However, this was on the assumption that the debris was not radioactive , but was debris that fell into the categories of “raw garbage” or “wet refuse” and burnable refuse. We sent our reply to the prefectural authorities, on the understanding that the debris would be checked against the national safety standards and would not contain radioactive substances. This is the assumption we are making. [In other words, it’s not clear whether debris WILL be checked against national safety standards or not. A clear answer has not been received by the city. They are just assuming this. Who wouldn’t, right? But is it ok to make an assumption like this on an issue of this importance?]

The Environment ministry published its guidelines for the disposal of quake/tsunami debris, and these were received by the prefectural rubbish disposal section.

However, at present details have not been gone over [by whom?] and as the city wishes to proceed with a cautious approach, please give us your understanding.