April 13, 2021 at 17:55 JST
A temporary site where bags filled with contaminated waste from the Fukushima nuclear accident were swept away during Typhoon No. 19 in Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture, in October 2019. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
South Korea summoned Japan’s ambassador to Seoul on Tuesday to protest the Japanese government’s plan to release huge amounts of contaminated water that have built up at the wrecked Fukushima plant after treatment and dilution.
China also reacted with strong opposition to the plan and the following lists detailed reactions from Japan’s neighbors in Asia along with the U.S. and other parties. Japan often has testy relations with China and South Korea over historical and territorial issues.
KOO YOON-CHEOL, SOUTH KOREA’S OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT POLICY COORDINATION
“Our government expresses strong regret over the decision and will take all necessary steps with the safety of our citizens as the top priority.
“The decision can never be accepted and would not only cause danger to the safety and maritime environment of neighboring countries, it was also made unilaterally without sufficient consultations with our country, which is the closest neighbor to Japan.
“We will strongly demand Japan take concrete steps to ensure the safety of our citizens and prevent any damage to the maritime environment.
“Second, we will convey our government’s concerns to the international community, including the IAEA, and request it seek transparent information and international inspections over the entire process of handling the contaminated water.
“Third, we actively demand the Japanese government release relevant information based on our right guaranteed under international law, while working with the international community to thoroughly verify the entire water treatment process. We will never accept any behavior that could cause damage to our people.”
CHINA FOREIGN MINISTRY
“The Fukushima nuclear accident is one of the most serious in world. The leak of large amounts of radioactive materials has had far-reaching implications on the marine environment, food safety and human health.
“Despite doubts and opposition from home and abroad, Japan has unilaterally decided to release the Fukushima nuclear wastewater into the sea before exhausting all safe ways of disposal and without fully consulting with neighboring countries and the international community. This action is extremely irresponsible, and will seriously damage international public health and safety, and the vital interests of people in neighboring countries.
“We strongly urge the Japanese side to face up to its responsibility, follow the science, fulfil its international obligations and duly respond to the serious concerns of the international community, neighboring countries and its own people. It should reevaluate the issue and refrain from wantonly discharging the wastewater before reaching consensus with all stakeholders and the IAEA through full consultations.”
JOANNE OU, TAIWAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN
“The Foreign Ministry will continue to express our concerns to Japan in the future and closely monitor related developments in this matter.”
“The Japanese government had informed us before it made an official decision, and it has promised to follow the guidelines given by ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Proctection) to dilute, filter, purify before the discharge, and to continue to provide information to the international society.”
U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
“In this unique and challenging situation, Japan has weighed the options and effects, has been transparent about its decision, and appears to have adopted an approach in accordance with globally accepted nuclear safety standards.
“We look forward to the government of Japan’s continued coordination and communication as it monitors the effectiveness of this approach.”
INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA)
“Today’s decision by the Government of Japan is a milestone that will help pave the way for continued progress in the decommissioning of the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant,” IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi in an emailed statement.
“Tanks with the water occupy large areas of the site, and water management, including the disposal of the treated water in a safe and transparent manner involving all stakeholders, is of key importance for the sustainability of these decommissioning activities.
“The Japanese Government’s decision is in line with practice globally, even though the large amount of water at the Fukushima plant makes it a unique and complex case.
“We will work closely with Japan before, during and after the discharge of the water.”
KAZUE SUZUKI, GREENPEACE JAPAN
“The Japanese government has once again failed the people of Fukushima.
“The government has taken the wholly unjustified decision to deliberately contaminate the Pacific Ocean with radioactive wastes. It has discounted the radiation risks and turned its back on the clear evidence that sufficient storage capacity is available on the nuclear site as well as in surrounding districts.
“Rather than using the best available technology to minimize radiation hazards by storing and processing the water over the long term, they have opted for the cheapest option, dumping the water into the Pacific Ocean.”
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