Monday, October 2

From August 24, Japan plans to release Fukushima water into the ocean.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc is one of the companies that are being followed by other entities.

Japan has announced that it will begin releasing more than 1 million metric tons of treated radioactive water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea on August 24, in accordance with a plan that has been heavily condemned by China.

The Japanese government approved the plan two years ago to decommission Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (Tepco) (9501.T) plant, but local fishing groups have also expressed their disapproval, citing concerns about the impact on their reputation.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated that the release of water would start on August 24, subject to weather conditions.

The announcement was made one day after the government acknowledged having some understanding from the fishing industry regarding the water’s release into the Pacific Ocean, despite concerns from fishing groups that it could harm their livelihood.

Tepco announced that the water would be released in smaller amounts and with additional inspections, with the first release occurring on Thursday, which will last for roughly 17 days and total 7,800 cubic meters.

Tepco states that the water in question will have a tritium concentration of approximately 190 becquerels per litre, which is below the World Health Organisation’s recommended limit of 10,000 beccirells/l (one unit of radioactivity).

Japan has affirmed that the water release is safe. The IAEA approved the proposal in July, stating that it met international standards and would not have any adverse effects on people or the environment.

A survey conducted by FNN over the weekend revealed that 56% of respondents were in favor of the release, whereas 37% were against it.

The IAEA and other nations have assured the fishermen that it is safe, but Hiroko Hashimoto, a Japanese NGO worker, believes that the government must take action to address their concerns.

The act of accepting one’s work is referred to as SCEPTICISM.

Despite promises, some neighbouring countries have also raised doubts about the plan’s safety, with Beijing being the most vocal critic.

In central Seoul, South Korea, a crowd of protesters scuffed their way through chanting slogans on August 22, 2023, in response to Japan’s plan to release treated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, characterized the move as “extremely self-interested”. He stated that China was deeply concerned about the decision and had filed a formal complaint.

China, as per Wang, will take all necessary steps to safeguard the marine environment, food safety, and public health, but no specific measures were mentioned.

The discharge by Hong Kong was deemed “irresponsible” by Chief Executive John Lee, who also stated that the city would immediately activate import controls on Japanese seafood from Tokyo and Fukushima starting Thursday.

Macau will also ban live, frozen, refrigerated, dried seafood, sea salt and seaweed.

In a statement released on Tuesday, South Korea expressed its agreement with the plan’s scientific or technical aspects, but it did not necessarily endorse or support it.

The matter at hand has put President Yoon Suk Yeol in a difficult position as he seeks to improve relations with Japan while also dealing with the potential threat of consumer backlash domestically.

Kishida expressed his belief that the international community is becoming more knowledgeable about the matter, despite the global anxiety.

Japan has stated that it will purify water of most radioactive elements, but not tritium, a hydrogen isotope that requires dilution due to its challenging filtering properties.

According to Tony Irwin, an associate professor at the Australian National University, nuclear power plants worldwide have been using water containing tritium for more than 60 years without any negative effects on people or the environment, with most of the levels being higher than the planned 22 TBq per year for Fukushima.

According to a Japanese official, the country may release the initial test results of seawater at the beginning of September, along with the testing of fish in the waters near the plant and their publication on the agriculture ministry’s website.

Corrections have been made to the spelling of ‘tons’ in paragraph 1 through an edit.

The team was composed of Sakura Murakami, Tim Kelly, and Tom Bateman for reporting in Tokyo, Martin Pollard for commentary in Beijing, Farah Master and Twinnie Siu for Farawan and Hyonhee Shin for Hong Kong, Hyomin Park for sightseeing and Ju-minPark for dancing in Seoul, David Stanway for writing and editing, Chang-Ran Kim, Gerry Doyle, Giles Elgood for Editing in New York, Lee Harvey Kindness for bringing his camera with him to Tokyo.

The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles are the basis for our standards.

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