The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) on Wednesday urged Japan to delay its discharge of wastewater contaminated by the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean.
According to Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) and the PIF facebook page, while speaking at a livestreamed seminar here on Wednesday, PIF Secretary General Henry Puna is backing the call from independent global experts who say they are not satisfied that the evidence provided so far is independent and verifiable.
In the meantime, Puna said that the secretariat is still working closely with Japan and power company TEPCO on the issue.
"We're hoping to engage with them as soon as possible and the indications from Japan are that they are prepared to meet with us. It is absolutely important for the Pacific that Japan does not go ahead with the release," he said.
Puna stressed that the Pacific region is steadfast that there is no discharge until all parties verify it is safe.
"We must prevent action that will lead or mislead us toward another major nuclear contamination disaster at the hands of others," he said, adding that Pacific islanders continued to endure the long-term impacts of the nuclear testing legacy on a daily basis.
As for Japan's wastewater dumping plan, the PIF also said in the communique of the 51st PIF Leaders Meeting here in July last year that the leaders reiterated their strong concerns for the significance of the potential threat of nuclear contamination to the health and security of the Blue Pacific, its people and prospects, and reaffirmed the importance of ensuring international consultation, international law, and independent and verifiable scientific assessments.