China again urges Japan to halt plan to discharge nuclear-contaminated water after latest reported leak: Chinese FM

2023-08-18 09:01:32Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Thursday that the latest reported leak of Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water has again heightened international concerns over the competence of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the lack of effective regulation from the Japanese government. China again urges Japan to stop pushing ahead with the dumping plan, and to dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water in a responsible way, the ministry said.

TEPCO recently confirmed there was a leak of the nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as a result of a crack in the hose used to transport the water, according to media reports.

People are questioning TEPCO’s ability to handle the nuclear-contaminated water in a safe and responsible way. Can it manage the 30-year-long discharge without mistakes and errors? Can it ensure the long-term effectiveness and reliability of the treatment facility? Can it conduct waste-water sampling and monitoring activities in strict compliance with the rules? The international community is very doubtful about these issues, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said during a press briefing on Thursday.

Wang noted that the legitimacy and safety of Japan’s ocean discharge plan have long been questioned by the international community. People in Fukushima have pointed out many times that since the nuclear plant accident, TEPCO’s handling of the aftermath has been highly problematic. There have been several revelations about TEPCO covering up or tampering with data.

China again urges Japan to take seriously the legitimate concerns of the international community and the people in Japan, stop pushing through the ocean discharge plan, conduct full, sincere communication with neighboring countries, dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water in a truly responsible way, and accept rigorous international oversight, Wang noted.

According to media reports, South Korea's four main opposition parties – the Democratic Party of Korea, the Justice Party, the Basic Income Party, and the Unified Progressive Party – along with civic groups and religious communities, submitted a petition to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday, regarding Japan's discharge of nuclear contaminated water which violates the human rights of neighboring countries.

The four opposition parties expressed their views during a press conference held in parliament on the need for the United Nations to evaluate the impact on neighboring countries of Japan's illegal discharge plans, as the consequences extend beyond the borders of South Korea. The international community should have a correct understanding and should respond to Japan's unilateral and illegal plan.

The petition calls for the UNHRC special rapporteur on environment, health and food to investigate the human rights violations caused by Japan's discharge of nuclear contaminated water and to make recommendations for the international community, media reports said.

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