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China urges Japan not to make Aug. 24 'disaster day for marine environment'

Xinhua | August 24, 2023


China strongly urges Japan to cancel its wrong decision to start releasing the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean from Aug. 24, and communicate with neighboring countries with sincerity and good will, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Wednesday.

"The negative impact of the ocean discharge cannot be undone. We don't want August 24, 2023 to be a disaster day for marine environment," said Wang Wenbin at a news briefing.

"If Japan does not change course, it must bear the historic responsibility for this decision," he said.

The ocean sustains humanity. Japan's pushing for the ocean discharge plan is no doubt a huge gamble that ventures the global marine environment and people's health, Wang said.

The disposal of the nuclear-contaminated water should be conducted in a responsible manner to avoid unpredictable damage and harm to the global marine environment, he said.

"If Japan persists in proceeding with its discharge plan, the Chinese government will take necessary measures to firmly safeguard the marine environment, food safety, and people's health," Wang said.

When asked about the scientific basis for China's opposition to Japan's discharge plan, Wang said there is a fundamental difference between the nuclear-contaminated water that came into direct contact with the melted reactor cores during the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the water released by nuclear power plants in normal operation. "They are different in nature, come from different sources and require different levels of sophistication to handle."

He said Japan deliberately compares the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water with water released by nuclear power plants in normal operation, which only proves that Japan is not handling the issue scientifically and is deliberately misleading the international community.

For the past two years and more, the legitimacy, legality and safety of Japan's ocean discharge plan has been questioned over and over again by the international community. Japan has 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," Wang said.

"It is unjustified, unreasonable and unnecessary for Japan to push through the ocean discharge plan. We urge Japan not to shift the risk of nuclear pollution onto the rest of humanity in pursuit of its selfish interests," he said.