Japan and Fukushima: Pacific water concern to releasing contaminated water into the sea

Japan and Fukushima: Pacific water concern to releasing contaminated water into the sea

Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced at the Fourth Asia-Pacific Water Summit that Japan would help to solve water-related issues that blight the region. However, the same Kishida is fine with releasing radioactive water from the stricken nuclear plant in Fukushima.

China, South Korea, and other nations have raised concerns about releasing contaminated water from the stricken Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima. This is scheduled to start next year. Therefore, for Kishida to announce 500 billion yen in helping to solve water-related issues in the Pacific is ironic.

The local fishing trade in Fukushima is also opposed to Kishida’s plan. Hiroshi Kishi, the leader of Japan’s national fisheries cooperatives, notified Kishida that he opposes the plan to release contaminated water into the sea.

Kishi said, “I told (Prime Minister Fumio) Kishida our position to oppose the discharge remains exactly the same… We just hope people in the fisheries industry will be able to continue fishing with peace of mind.”

Smaller Pacific island nations are also extremely concerned. After all, several nations have abused the local environment concerning nuclear issues in the past.

The Honolulu Civil Beat reports, “The mistrust that is harbored by many in the Pacific stems back to U.S nuclear testing in the Republic of Marshall Islands following World War II, British testing in Kiribati and the French in French Polynesia, which had flow-on effects to the environment and long term health of Pacific people. And in 1979, Japan provoked backlash when it revealed plans to dump 10,000 drums of nuclear waste in the Marianas Trench.”

The Guardian reports, “Neighbouring South Korea, which still bans seafood imports from the region, has repeatedly voiced concern, claiming that discharging the water represented a “grave threat” to the marine environment.”

The Asahi Shimbun reports, “A decade after a massive earthquake and tsunami ravaged the country’s northeastern coast, disabling the plant and causing the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, nearly 1.3 million tons of contaminated water has accumulated at the site.”

Last year, Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry of China, uttered, “The ocean is not Japan’s trash can. The Pacific is not Japan’s sewer.”

Fourth Asia-Pacific Water Summit

Nations welcome Japan’s support for water concerns that persist in the Pacific Ocean – so it is good that economic support is forthcoming.

Kishida said, “This is a good opportunity to take a major step toward solving global water problems by bringing together the wisdom and determination of the Asia-Pacific region.”

However, similar to Kishida’s anti-Russia stance – concerning Japan ignoring decades of bombing campaigns by America (Agent Orange to Libya) – his policy related to water is equally blighted by amnesia and hypocrisy. Thus, Kishida’s pick and choose politics that he is delivering is becoming nauseating.

Japan needs to listen to regional nations and smaller islands in the Pacific that worry about the long-term effects of releasing contaminated water.


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