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World dreads Japan's date with disaster

By ZHANG ZHOUXIANG | China Daily | Updated: 2023-02-24 07:26

File photo of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. [Photo/Agencies]

Photographs and videos from the site of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, showing workers preparing to release nuclear wastewater into the ocean, are flooding social networking sites.

Japan plans to start dumping nuclear waste water into the ocean this spring. Twelve years after the meltdown at the plant, caused by a deadly tsunami triggered by an earthquake, Japan is all set to inconvenience the world for its own convenience.

It is clear from developments how Japan prepared for this move. Although Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, which owns the now defunct nuclear plant, promised in 2015 that it would not dump nuclear waste water into the ocean, it "found" evidence of new radioactive contamination amid the ruins in March 2021. A month later, TEPCO claimed the tanks in which it was collecting nuclear contaminated water would get filled up by the autumn of 2022, necessitating its dumping into the ocean.

The Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority, a highly "independent "agency, approved TEPCO's plan in July 2022. On Feb 22, it approved the reviewing documents for the plan, which will officially pass after soliciting public opinion.

But the seemingly legal procedures do not make Japan's move legitimate. On the contrary, if the nuclear waste water is "safe" after processing, as it claims, why can't Japan find a use for it? Its leaders make apologetic gestures, but don't want to prevent more damage from being done.

Maybe the countries and regions that are going to be affected should sue Japan in international courts, sanction the companies responsible, and even boycott products from Japan for safety's sake. And do it while being polite all the time.

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