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Japan's plan to dump toxic water condemned

By Zhou Jin | China Daily | Updated: 2023-06-08 06:55

Tanks containing water from the disabled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant are seen at the power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, March 8, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

It is selfish and irresponsible of Japan to discharge nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean, which saves the cost for itself at the expense of the world, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday.

A report issued by the plant's operator Tokyo Electric Power Company on Monday showed that the radioactive elements in marine fish caught in a harbor near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant far exceeded safety levels for human consumption.

In particular, the data showed that the content of Cs-137, a radioactive element that is a common byproduct in nuclear reactors, is 180 times that of the standard maximum stipulated in Japan's food safety law.

During the daily news conference on Wednesday, Wang noted that the Japanese government has repeatedly sought to whitewash its discharge of the wastewater, claiming the water to be harmless and the discharge to be justified and calling it the only option. Facts, however, prove otherwise.

"If the polluted water is indeed as safe as the Japanese government says, why doesn't Tokyo discharge it into its inland lakes?" Wang asked. "Why has Japan insisted on building a discharge tunnel and eagerly launching it?"

The answer, Wang said, is that discharge into the sea is the cheapest option with the minimum risk of polluting Japan itself.

Common property

"The ocean is common property for the whole world, not a private sewer for Japan," Wang said.

Apart from the discharge plan, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry had offered five proposals and experts from neighboring countries proposed safer plans such as long-term storage.

However, without fully assessing the alternatives, the Japanese government has unilaterally decided to dump the water into the ocean, Wang said.

"Such a selfish move that damages the common interests of all humanity will not persuade people from either Japan or other countries, but will only bring disgrace on Tokyo," Wang said.

The move will also harm Japan's neighbors and Pacific Island countries, and Tokyo will further lose the trust of the international community, he said.

On Monday, TEPCO started sending seawater into an underwater tunnel to be diluted before releasing the treated nuclear wastewater into the ocean. The company said all facilities for the water release system are expected to be completed by the end of this month.

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