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Japan approves nuclear-contaminated water discharge plan, may turn Japanese people into ‘sick men of Asia,’ seafood consumption and export nosedive

By Zhang Hui and Xing Xiaojing Jul 22, 2022 , Japan’s nuclear regulator on Friday approved the discharge plan of Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water, with Chinese observers voicing concerns that the release of the contaminated water into the ocean may start earlier than the previous schedule of next spring and warning that Japan will bear the brunt of damage, with people’s lives under serious threat and seafood consumption and export nosediving. 

………………… Although the Foreign Ministry statement said this does not mean that TEPCO can immediately start the discharge of the contaminated water into the sea as there are remaining processes, such as the Japanese regulator’s inspections to check and confirm the installation status of the discharge facilities, Chinese observers believed that Japan may accelerate its scheduled plan, making the release start earlier than April 2023. 

Chang Yen-chiang, director of the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea Research Institute of Dalian Maritime University, who has been closely following the Japanese government’s decision on discharging Fukushima wastewater, told the Global Times on Friday that the administrative process for releasing the contaminated water was done in a really fast manner, as it only took Japan five days from announcing completion of construction for undersea tunnel outlet to approving the plan. 

The TEPCO has basically completed the construction of an undersea tunnel outlet to dump the nuclear-contaminated water, the Kyodo News agency reported on Sunday. 

Japan’s latest move apparently aroused lots of concern and opposition from neighboring countries. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at Friday’s media briefing that it is extremely irresponsible for Japan to attempt to create a fait accompli, regardless of various parties’ concerns and China firmly opposes it.

China once again urges Japan to earnestly fulfill its due international obligations, dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water in a scientific, open, transparent and safe manner, and stop pushing through the ocean discharge plan, Wang said.

……………. Meanwhile, Japan’s seafood exports will be greatly hindered, which would hurt the economy and local fishery groups, observers said. 

Many countries, including the US and UK, banned  imports of food products manufactured in and around Fukushima Prefecture following the 2011 nuclear disaster, and some countries and regions have not lifted the ban even now.

Fishery groups in Japan have repeatedly said they were firmly opposed to the plan due to concerns over a negative impact on the industry. ……………..

China and other stakeholders could through the UN request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice, to prove the release is illegal, Chang said. 

Yu also advised countries to conduct maritime environment investigation, which could be evidence in seeking compensation from Japan in cases of biological resources damages and other damage.

July 22, 2022 - Posted by | Japan, oceans, wastes

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