The government is awaiting a report from an expert panel before making a final decision on how to dispose of the radioactive water.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, in a separate press briefing, described Harada’s comments as “his personal opinion”.
Tepco was not in a position to decide what to do but would follow the policy once the government made a decision, a spokesman for the utility said.
The utility says it will run out of room to store the water by 2022. Harada did not say how much water would need to be dumped into the ocean.
Any green light from the government to dump the waste into the sea would anger neighbours such as South Korea, which summoned a senior Japanese embassy official last month to explain how the Fukushima water would be dealt with.
“We’re just hoping to hear more details of the discussions that are under way in Tokyo so that there won’t be a surprise announcement,” a South Korean diplomat told Reuters.
South Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement said it had asked Japan “to take a wise and prudent decision on the issue”.
Coastal nuclear plants commonly dump into the ocean water that contains tritium, an isotope of hydrogen that is hard to separate and is considered to be relatively harmless.
Tepco, which also faces opposition from fishermen, admitted last year that the water in its tanks still contained contaminants beside tritium.