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How can Japan “fall it down” with nuclear wastewater!

How can Japan "fall it down" with nuclear wastewater!

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant full of nuclear wastewater storage tanks. (Picture/Daily News)

According to Asahi Shimbun, the Japanese government held a cabinet meeting on April 13 and formally decided to discharge nuclear wastewater containing harmful to the marine environment from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a press conference on April 12, “Japan is responsible for the international public interest, which is also responsible for the interests of its own people.” The Japanese government’s decision to discharge nuclear wastewater into the sea obviously lacks a highly responsible public spirit, which is not only detrimental to the marine ecological environment, but also poses a threat to the common security and interests of neighboring countries and even the international community.

The nuclear wastewater discharged into the ocean by the Japanese government this time originated from the Fukushima nuclear spill 10 years ago. On March 11, 2011, a strong earthquake of magnitude 9.0 occurred in the northeast waters of Japan and triggered a tsunami, causing a nuclear leak at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, in which three reactors were core melted. In order to cool the damaged core, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant had to inject a large amount of seawater.

This seawater forms nuclear wastewater with a large amount of groundwater and rainwater that seeps into the reactor and is installed in a special water storage tank. According to a report by Tokyo News on April 9, 140 tons of nuclear wastewater are added to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant every day. At present, the total amount of nuclear wastewater exceeds 1.25 million tons and the number of water storage tanks is more than 1,000. According to Japan, by the autumn of 2022, the water storage tanks used for storing nuclear wastewater will reach the upper limit, so the Japanese government is eager to deal with it.

The Japanese government obviously does not really pay attention to the opposition at home and abroad. In June 2016, an expert meeting organized by the Government of Japan proposed five ways to treat nuclear wastewater, including pouring into the sea and burying underground. 

It is not that there is no other way to deal with it, but pouring into the sea is the least costly and least time-consuming way, so the Japanese government has been seeking to treat nuclear wastewater in this way, but today, the Japanese government has not won the support of public opinion at home and abroad. 

For example, a poll released by Asahi Shimbun on January 3 this year showed that 55% of the respondents “opposed” pouring nuclear wastewater into the sea; Japan’s National Fisheries Organization, the local people in Fukushima Prefecture, etc. have also held many protests in the past few years, believing that releasing nuclear wastewater into the sea will make agricultural, forestry and aquatic products around Fukushima.

It has a serious impact. In addition, five United Nations human rights experts issued a joint statement on March 11 warning that “discharging nuclear wastewater into the oceans will increase children’s health risks, which amounts to human rights violations.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Korea said at a press conference on April 12 that Japan’s discharge of nuclear wastewater into the sea “will have a direct or indirect impact on the South Korean people and the surrounding environment”. Greenpeace, an international organization that has long been committed to protecting the environment, has repeatedly urged the Japanese government to be cautious about nuclear wastewater treatment. Obviously, the Japanese government’s formal decision to discharge nuclear wastewater into the sea today not only lacks a solid public opinion foundation at home, but also is widely criticized and questioned overseas, which is undoubtedly harmful to others.

Admittedly, the Japanese government has repeatedly stressed that the nuclear wastewater discharged into the sea is “treated” and “in line with the corresponding standards”, but the Japanese government obviously ignores that the impact of nuclear pollution is long-term and unknown.

For Japan, which often positions itself as the only nuclear weapon victim in the world, it will not be unaware that the impact of nuclear pollution on human beings and the natural environment is long-term, especially many sequelae and side effects, even after more than ten years, it is difficult to completely eliminate. 

The impact of nuclear wastewater on global fish migration, human health, pelagic fisheries and ecological security is unpredictable. For example, in Japan in the 1950s, water brism disease caused by industrial wastewater discharge pollution. At that time, the Japanese thought that industrial sewage could be diluted through the sea, but the result was that industrial sewage not only not diluted by the sea, but also caused serious physical disorders, mental disorders and even death of people near Shuiyu Bay in Kumamoto Prefecture.

Today, the Japanese government has promised to “conform standards” the nuclear wastewater discharged to the sea, but who can guarantee that water-like diseases will not occur in the future? What’s more, the water slug disease was concentrated in only part of Japan, and the nuclear wastewater discharged into the sea would spread to the whole Pacific Ocean and have a huge butterfly effect. It can be said that the Japanese government’s discharge of nuclear wastewater into the sea is not Japan’s simple internal affairs.

After all, its impact has long crossed national boundaries and will “radiate” the public security and interests of neighboring countries and even the international community. The Japanese government obviously needs to be responsible for its own people, neighboring countries and the international community. Ren’s attitude, in-depth assessment of the possible impact of discharge of nuclear wastewater, rather than hasty decision-making.

Since joining the United Nations in 1956, Japan has been committed to building itself as a “responsible power”. Obviously, pouring its own nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean is not only not a proper manifestation of a responsible country, but also will also reduce Japan’s credibility and image in the international community.

On the issue of nuclear wastewater treatment, Japan should not be “overturned down” willful, but should carefully grasp it and properly, ensure that all parties concerned participate together to avoid further damage to the marine environment, food safety and human health.

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