Amidst reports of another leak of nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, China Foreign Ministry has once again raised concerns over the actions of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the perceived lack of robust oversight from the Japanese government. The incident has reignited international worries about the competence of TEPCO and the adequacy of Japan’s regulatory measures.
In a statement released on Thursday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry reiterated its plea for Japan to reconsider its plan to discharge the nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean. Instead, China urged Japan to adopt a more responsible approach to managing the contaminated water, reflecting the global concern over the potential environmental and health impacts of such a disposal method.
According to recent media coverage, TEPCO acknowledged a breach in the hose used to transport nuclear-contaminated water, leading to the reported leak from the Fukushima plant.
The recent incident has cast doubts on TEPCO’s ability to handle the management of nuclear-contaminated water securely and responsibly. The questions loom large: Can TEPCO execute a 30-year-long discharge operation without mishaps? Will the treatment facility stand the test of time in terms of effectiveness and reliability? Can the waste-water sampling and monitoring adhere rigorously to established protocols? Addressing these uncertainties, Wang Wenbin, the spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, expressed skepticism during a press conference, highlighting international doubts about TEPCO’s competence.
Wang underscored the persistent doubts surrounding the legitimacy and safety of Japan’s ocean discharge plan, echoing concerns voiced by the international community for some time. The handling of the Fukushima aftermath by TEPCO has raised alarms, with instances of data tampering and cover-ups coming to light since the nuclear accident.
China, in its call for responsible action, urges Japan to give due consideration to the valid concerns expressed by both the international community and its own citizens. China presses for a halt to the ocean discharge initiative and calls for open and meaningful communication with neighboring nations. Moreover, the statement calls for a genuinely responsible approach to disposing of nuclear-contaminated water, coupled with an acceptance of stringent international oversight.
In a separate development, reports have emerged about South Korea’s main opposition parties joining forces, along with civic groups and religious communities, to submit a petition to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Japan’s nuclear-contaminated water discharge. The petition raises human rights concerns for neighboring countries impacted by Japan’s actions.
During a press conference convened in the parliament, the four opposition parties expressed the need for the UNHRC to assess the cross-border implications of Japan’s discharge plans, emphasizing that the consequences extend beyond South Korea’s borders. The parties seek a well-informed global response to Japan’s unilateral and contested course of action.
The petition specifically calls upon the UNHRC special rapporteur on environment, health, and food to conduct an investigation into potential human rights violations stemming from Japan’s discharge of nuclear-contaminated water. The findings are expected to yield recommendations for the international community to consider, as the situation continues to draw international attention and concern.