TOKYO, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, wearing a hazmat suit, toured the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear reactor Saturday.
Abe thanked the employees involved in decommissioning the plant, where there were three core meltdowns after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Kyodo News Service reported.
"I know the decommissioning process is hard work. But it is progressing well and we owe it all to you," Abe said.
Aides said the prime minister wants to show he is serious about dealing with Fukushima.
Abe, who served as prime minister for a year in 2006-2007, visited Fukushima only days after regaining the post this week.
The mayor of the area that includes Fukushima told two environmental ministers Friday Japan should not restart its nuclear plants.
"The government's apparent stance of giving priority to restarts hurts the feelings of the people in Fukushima Prefecture," Tomioka Mayor Katsuya Endo said.