Tokyo should heed concerns of world: China Daily editorial

China Daily
Lin Congyi
2023-09-13 10:03:32

People gather to protest the Japanese government's decision to start releasing nuclear-contaminated wastewater in front of the Japanese prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, Aug 22, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

According to Tokyo Electric Power Company, which has been discharging the nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant since Aug 24, tritium was detected in the sea near the plant on Thursday.

Since the density was far below its own preset safety standard, it says there is no need for it to stop releasing the toxic wastewater into the ocean.

Meanwhile, a Japanese civic group that opposes the discharge filed a complaint on Thursday against the Japanese prime minister and the president of TEPCO, saying the consequences of dumping the toxic water into the ocean may be extremely serious.

The dispute between Japan and China over the issue continues, with Beijing strongly condemning the release and Tokyo staunchly defending it. It is absurd that the Japanese government has accused its Chinese counterpart of sensationalizing the matter, asking the latter to recall its decision on a blanket ban on Japanese seafood, as if China should choose to ignore the environmental impacts of Japan's selfish move that will last 30 years.

There is even talk of it making a complaint at the World Trade Organization against the Chinese decision. The Chinese government, as it said in its notice to the WTO, has every right to defend its move as an "emergency measure" to effectively protect its people's lives and health, and completely suppress corresponding risks, arguing the discharge will bring uncontrollable risks to public health and food safety.

It is ridiculous that Tokyo has kept a studied silence over the fact that it is the US that has seen the largest decline of imports of Japanese food over the past eight months among all countries.

Beijing certainly isn't the only one opposing Tokyo's move. And, as a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, it should be made clear that the disposal of the nuclear-contaminated water is not Japan's domestic affair and not only an issue between certain countries. By polluting the ocean in this way, Japan is harming the environment and posing a risk to the health of humanity. "On this major issue, what Japan needs to face is not a single country, but the whole international community."

Beijing has consistently demanded the Japanese side demonstrate full transparency and address neighboring countries' concerns. This is important not only because of the huge volume of the discharge and the hard-to-predict consequences, but also because of the subsequent damage it may do to related industries.

Tokyo insists on using the term "treated water" to downplay the risks. But as Japanese Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Nomura Tetsuro let slip, the water being released from Fukushima is "contaminated water". That Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida instructed Nomura to withdraw the statement and apologize only serves to show how rigorously Tokyo is trying to cover up the danger of the ocean discharge and misguide international public opinion.

Tokyo should do the right thing and make decisions based on science, and share the full truth of the matter with the world.

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