The Tokyo Electric Power Company has begun construction work to prepare for the discharge of contaminated water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean next spring, Japanese media reports say.
The Japanese government and TEPCO are advancing this plan made by the Japanese government on April 13 last year, in spite of strong opposition at home and abroad.
Given that the water was used to cool the fused reactors at the nuclear plant after the Fukushima region was devastated by a tsunami in March 2011, and contains radioactive material, its potential to cause harm to the marine ecological environment, food safety and human health cannot be underestimated.
That is why discharging the water into the ocean has caught the attention of people and marine environmentalists around the world.
Ever since the Japanese government decided to discharge the water into the ocean, people in neighboring countries, such as China, the Republic of Korea, and Russia, have never stopped questioning the wisdom of the decision or opposing it.
In fact, around 180,000 people from private organizations in Japan have signed a petition calling on their government to abandon the plan.
Japan should respond to international and domestic concerns, carefully consult the relevant countries and regions, and make convincing explanations about the legitimacy of the plan, the reliability of the data on the contaminated water, effectiveness of purification devices and the potential environmental impact.
However, the Japanese side has, so far, turned a deaf ear to the voices of opposition at home and abroad and is yet to give sufficient and credible explanations.
Also, the Japanese government's insistence on preparing to dump the water even before the International Atomic Energy Agency's technical working group has concluded its inspection and assessment work reflects Japan's beggar-thy-neighbor approach.
In fact, although there being many alternative ways to deal with the water, Japan has chosen the one that is easiest and cheapest. And instead of listening to the voices of reason, it is looking for ways to mislead the public, spending tens of billions of yen on public relations.
Japan should earnestly respond to the legitimate concerns of the international community, and reverse its decision to discharge the contaminated water into the ocean, thus fulfilling its international obligations.