Japanese public gathers to oppose contaminated wastewater discharge plan

2023-04-14 09:18:14Xinhua Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Japanese residents on Thursday held a rally in Tokyo to protest against the Japanese government's plan to discharge nuclear-contaminated water into the sea, two years after the decision was announced.

Ignoring opposition both at home and abroad, the Japanese government decided on April 13, 2021 to release millions of tons of nuclear-contaminated water from the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea.

Carrying signs such as "Do not let nuclear-tainted water pollute the sea" and "Do not spill poison into the sea," about 120 protestors of all ages rallied in front of the House of Representatives, or the lower house of the Diet.

"The treatment of the nuclear-contaminated water should not be left to the Japanese government to decide at its own discretion," Miyako Kumamoto told Xinhua.

The 80-year-old moved to Fukushima Prefecture upon retirement but was forced to seek refuge in Tokyo after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.

"I wanted to retire to an idyllic life in Fukushima prefecture," she said. "The nuclear accident has not only devastated the lives of local residents but also those who depend on the sea."

According to Kumamoto, people should not remain silent on the Japanese government's decision to discharge nuclear-contaminated water into the sea, but instead should actively speak out against it.

Yoshiko Furukawa, who used to live near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, said at the protest rally, "I don't want people pointing at me and saying 'the contaminated water was discharged from near her house,' even though dumping the contaminated water into the sea might allow us to return home earlier."

The contaminated water must first be stored to minimize radioactivity before the world works out how to deal with it, said Toshihiro Inoue, the organizer of Thursday's rally.

If the nuclear-contaminated water is allowed to be discharged into the sea, arbitrary discharges would take place whenever nuclear contamination occurs in the future, he said.

According to Inoue, Thursday's protestors were people from around Tokyo, while similar protests are being held across Japan, some by individuals and some by groups.

In the past two years, a variety of rallies, marches and protests have been launched, along with online learning sessions on nuclear-contaminated water to popularize knowledge about its hazards, he added.

The Japanese government said in January that starting this spring or summer, over 1 million tons of radioactive wastewater from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant, after being treated, will be released into the Pacific.


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