Eight years after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered a catastrophic meltdown, the Japanese government have announced that they will have to dump contaminated water from the plant back into the Pacific Ocean.
Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada announced in a televised press conference that the only solution for the waste was to "release it into the ocean and dilute it".
"There are no other options," he said.
Since the meltdown, tens of thousands of tons of water have been used by the plant's operator Tokyo Electric to cool the nuclear fuel cores.
Once used, that water has been put into storage but space is now running out.
Although Tokyo Electric has attempted to remove radioactive material from the water, which is held in hundreds of tanks at the site.
A recent study by Hiroshi Miyano from the Atomic Energy Society of Japan said it could take 17 years to discharge the treated water after it has been diluted to levels that meet safety standards.
Other officials hurried to clarify the government's position, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga telling media that a decision had not been made on how to deal with the waste water.
"There is no fact that the method of disposal of contaminated water has been decided. The government would like to make a decision after making thorough discussion," he said.
The magnitude 9.0 earthquake in 2011 was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan, and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world.
The earthquake and subsequent tsunami killed more than 15,000 people and caused extensive damage to infrastructure across Japan.
Concerns have been raised in the past about the disaster's effects on the global ecosystem, with a study launched in 2014 into whether migratory muttonbirds had been left radioactive by the meltdown.
The birds winter off the coast of Japan and fears were raised that they might contaminate their New Zealand breeding sites.