Beijing: China today announced suspending the import of all aquatic products originating from Japan and urged the latter to stop releasing the “Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water” into the ocean. The suspension order was announced by the General Administration of Customs of China this morning.
Earlier, the Japanese government announced on August 22, 2023, its decision to start releasing the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean from August 24. China termed it as “extremely selfish and irresponsible”. Despite the clearance to Japan by the International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA), China has quoted unnamed “international experts” claiming that the discharge will spread the risks of nuclear contamination to the rest of the world. China holds the view that by doing so, Japan is putting its “selfish interests above the long-term wellbeing of the entire humanity”. China maintains that it is “gravely concerned and strongly opposed to this”.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said today that the decision was taken to suspend imports of aquatic products from Japan as “in disregard of the strong criticism and opposition from the international community”, the Japanese government “unilaterally” started the release of the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean from today. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns it. ” have made serious démarches to Japan and asked it to stop this wrongdoing,” he said.
China claims that the disposal of the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water is a major issue about nuclear safety. Wenbin said: “Its impact goes beyond Japan’s borders, and the issue is by no means a private matter for Japan.”
The Fukushima nuclear accident which took place 12 years ago was a major catastrophe that already caused the leakage of large amounts of radioactive substances into the ocean.
China today accused the Japanese government of having 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. “It 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. Japan also failed to have thorough consultations with other stakeholders,” Wenbin said. He added: “”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.”
Responding to the Japanese government’s explanation that there’s no problem with the “nuclear-treated water” and that the IAEA also agreed with that, Wenbin said, “The IAEA Director General said explicitly that the IAEA report is neither a recommendation nor an endorsement of Japan’s ocean discharge policy”. He added, “China is not the only one strongly opposing Japan’s wrongdoing. Even inside Japan, we have seen a great number of the local people criticizing and rejecting Japan’s move, which says a lot about the nature of this issue”.
China claimed that Japan was yet to address major international concerns such as the long-term reliability of the purification facility, the authenticity and accuracy of the nuclear-contaminated water data, and the effectiveness of the monitoring arrangement. “China and other stakeholders have pointed out on multiple occasions that if the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water is truly safe, Japan wouldn’t have to dump it into the sea—and certainly shouldn’t if it’s not,” Wenbin said.
Incidentally, contrary to China’s standpoint, the US has held the view that the release of Fukushima water into the ocean was safe. The US Secretary of State Antony J.Blinken categorically said on August 16, 2023, that with regard to the release of water from Fukushima, “we are satisfied with Japan’s plans, which are safe and in accordance with international standards, including, critically, the IAEA nuclear safety standards. Japan has coordinated closely, proactively with the IAEA on its plans, and they’ve conducted a science-based and transparent process, one that we’re satisfied with”.
-global bihari bureau