'Ecological saboteur': China halts Japanese aquatic goods' imports

'Ecological saboteur': China halts Japanese aquatic goods' imports

Beijing lashes out over Tokyo moving ahead with treated nuclear waste release from ruined Fukushima power plant

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ISTANBUL (AA) - China on Thursday condemned the release of radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, while suspending imports of all aquatic products from that country.

The Chinese General Administration of Customs announced on Thursday that it "will suspend all imports of aquatic products originating in Japan from today," reported state-run broadcaster CGTN.

This came after Beijing had warned it would take action if Tokyo moved ahead with its controversial decision to release the treated wastewater into the Pacific Ocean.

Beijing "firmly opposes and strongly condemns it" as Japan "failed to have thorough consultations" with other stakeholders, said a statement by China's Foreign Ministry.

"We have made serious demarches to Japan and asked it to stop this wrongdoing," it said, calling Japan a "saboteur of the ecological system and polluter of the global marine environment."

Amid severe criticism that the move may hurt marine life, Japan followed through on its decision Thursday.

The water discharge began around 1 p.m. local time (0400GMT).

The Fukushima complex contains about 1.34 million tons of treated water.

However, Beijing said the disposal of the nuclear-contaminated water "is a major issue about nuclear safety."

"Its impact goes beyond Japan's borders, and the issue is by no means a private matter for Japan," said the ministry statement.

Calling the 2011 meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant after a massive earthquake and tsunami "a major catastrophe that already caused the leakage of large amounts of radioactive substances into the ocean," Beijing said: "There could be a man-made secondary disaster to the local people and the whole world if Japan chooses to dump the water into the ocean just to serve Japan's selfish interests."

It alleged that Tokyo "failed to prove the legitimacy and legality of the ocean discharge decision, the long-term reliability of the purification facility, and the authenticity and accuracy of the nuclear-contaminated water data."

Japan has failed to prove that the ocean discharge "is safe and harmless to the marine environment and people's health and that the monitoring plan is sound and effective."

"By dumping the water into the ocean, Japan is spreading the risks to the rest of the world and passing an open wound onto the future generations of humanity," said Beijing, calling Japan's decision "irresponsible and selfish."

Japan is "infringing upon people's rights to health, development and a healthy environment, which violates Japan's moral responsibilities and obligations under international law," said the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

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