North Korea has issued a strong statement demanding that Japan immediately halt the release of radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean. The statement, shared by the KCNA news agency on Thursday, claimed that Japan’s actions posed a serious threat to the lives, safety, and future of humanity.
According to North Korea, Japan’s decision to release the treated wastewater is an unforgivable crime against humanity, and they are calling for Japan to be held accountable for its actions. This comes after Japan announced on Thursday that it had begun the release of approximately 1.3 million metric tons of wastewater from the site of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster into the Pacific Ocean.
The Japanese government has emphasized that this decision has been approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The UN’s nuclear watchdog stated last month that independent on-site testing had shown that the tritium concentration in the water was well below the operational limit. The IAEA also concluded that the impact on people and the environment would be negligible.
Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima plant, published test results on Thursday that showed the water contained tritium concentrations far below the World Health Organization’s drinking water limit. They stated that the water contained up to 63 becquerels of tritium per liter, well below the limit of 10,000 becquerels per liter.
Despite these reassurances, several of Japan’s neighboring countries remain unconvinced about the safety of the wastewater release. China, in response to Japan’s decision, has imposed a blanket ban on all Japanese seafood products. Beijing argues that Tokyo has not provided sufficient evidence that the discharged water will be safe.
China’s Foreign Ministry released a statement earlier this week, condemning Japan’s plan as extremely selfish and irresponsible. They urged Japan not to cause secondary harm to the local people and the people of the world out of its own selfish interests. Additionally, China’s special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau have also imposed import bans on Japanese seafood from 10 prefectures. South Korea, which already had restrictions in place, has also decided not to lift them despite acknowledging the safety measures taken by Japan.
Greenpeace activists have also criticized Japan’s decision, accusing Tokyo of deliberately polluting the Pacific Ocean. They argue that storing the water would have been a better course of action.
The controversy over Japan’s decision to release the wastewater continues to escalate, with North Korea adding its voice to the chorus of international criticism. The debate over the safety and environmental impact of this move will likely persist as Japan moves forward with its plans.