Japan's nuclear plant wastewater release a serious 'breach of trust,' says China

Japan's nuclear plant wastewater release a serious 'breach of trust,' says China

China repeats condemnation of Tokyo's plan to dump wastewater from Fukushima nuclear plant, Japanese premier visits fishers to allay concerns

By Necva Tastan

ISTANBUL (AA) - Japan's push to dump nuclear-contaminated wastewater into the Pacific Ocean is a serious "breach of trust," China said on Monday, once again condemning the move that has raised health and environmental concerns in neighboring countries.

The impact of the wastewater being released from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean "will be irreversible," China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told journalists at a news conference, according to Global Times.

Wang said Beijing "repeatedly pointed out that the dumping of nuclear-contaminated wastewater is not the safest solution, Japanese govt's choice was out of consideration of economic costs and will bring unnecessary risks to its neighbors and the world," the Beijing-based daily said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

He called Tokyo to "fully" engage with neighbors and stakeholders and drop the dumping proposal.

On the Japanese side, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida paid a visit in Tokyo to the head of the country's national fisheries federation, which has opposed the decision to release treated radioactive water stored at the nuclear power plant into the ocean.

Kishida told reporters that his government would hold a ministerial meeting on Tuesday to formally decide on the start date for the water release, adding that the move would allow the full recovery of areas hit by a deadly earthquake and tsunami in 2011 and "absolutely cannot be postponed."

The Japanese government has set up funds worth 30 billion yen ($206 million) to compensate for any "reputational" harm that the move may cause, as well as 50 billion yen to support local fishermen and relieve potential economic damage, Tokyo-based Kyodo News reported.

Kishida also promised that the government will take "full responsibility" and implement "necessary" steps during the process.

Japan plans to begin releasing millions of tons of water into the Pacific Ocean as early as this summer, despite vehement criticism from China, North Korea, and several Pacific nations.

The plans involve releasing about 1.25 million tons of treated water into the ocean as part of an effort to decommission the power station devastated by the 2011 tsunami.

Currently, 1.32 million tons of contaminated water are in storage at the site of the crippled power station in northeastern Japan.

This wastewater, enough to fill more than 500 Olympic-size pools, is stored in over 1,000 huge tanks.

Prime Minister Kishida's disapproval rating has risen to 50%, its highest level since December, a Kyodo News poll released on Sunday, showing that over eight in 10 respondents were concerned over the potential economic damage stemming from wastewater discharge.

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