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Ocean is not Japan's private sewer: Chinese spokesperson

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-06-08 08:56
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Tanks containing water from the disabled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant are seen at the power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, March 8, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

BEIJING - The ocean is humanity's common good, not Japan's private sewer, and to dump the nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean is "extremely selfish and irresponsible", Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday.

According to Japanese media, a report recently released by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) shows that the radioactive element Cs-137 in black rockfish caught in the harbor of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in May far exceeded safety levels, reaching 18,000 Bq/kg, 180 times that of the standard maximum stipulated in Japan's food safety law.

"The Japanese government has repeatedly sought to whitewash its discharge of nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, claiming the water to be harmless and the discharge to be justified and calling it the only option. Yet facts prove otherwise," Wang said at a news briefing in response to the report.

"Many in the international community have been asking: If the nuclear-contaminated water were indeed as safe as Japan says, why doesn't Japan discharge it into its inland lakes; why has Japan insisted on building the discharge tunnel and eagerly launched it?" Wang said, adding that the answer from Japan's own expert committee is quite straightforward: discharging into the sea is the cheapest option with minimum risk of polluting Japan itself.

"It is extremely selfish and irresponsible to let the whole world bear the cost and save money for Japan itself," he said.

"The ocean is humanity's common good, not Japan's private sewer," he said, noting that on the disposal of the water, Japan clearly has other options. Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry offered five proposals, and experts from neighboring countries proposed safer and more prudent plans such as long-term storage, he added.

Wang said, however, without fully assessing the alternatives, the Japanese government has unilaterally decided to dump the water into the ocean. "Such a selfish move that puts the common interests of all humanity in jeopardy will not persuade the people either from Japan or from other countries."

Wang pointed out it is a disgraceful act that will harm the people of Japan's neighbors and the Pacific island countries, and cost Japan its reputation among the international community.

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