China on Friday called on the international community to jointly urge Japan to halt its discharging of nuclear-contaminated water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean.
It is “to avoid causing unpredictable damage and hazard to the global marine environment and the health and well-being of people around the world,” Geng Shuang, China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, told the UN General Assembly.
“The disposal of the nuclear-contaminated water has transnational implications and is by no means a private matter for Japan. It is extremely self-serving and irresponsible of Japan to ignore the public interests and openly transfer the risk of nuclear contamination to the whole world, including the Pacific island countries,” said Geng.
He noted that there have been grave concerns about the impact of the discharge on the marine environment, food safety and human health. The legitimacy, legality and safety of the Japanese side’s approach have been widely questioned by the international community.
“The Japanese side has yet to address the major concerns of the international community about the long-term reliability of the water treatment equipment, the truthfulness and accuracy of the data on nuclear-contaminated water, and the soundness and effectiveness of the monitoring program,” he said.
Noting that the Japanese representative and the Japanese Government kept mentioning the final assessment report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in statements, Geng said that the IAEA’s report is neither a recommendation nor an endorsement of the decision by the Japanese Government, as the head of the agency has repeatedly stressed.
“Whatever and however they argue is not going to change the fact that in the next 30 years, Japan will discharge millions of tons of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean and it would not change the fact that it is going to pose enormous risks to the environment, human health, etc.,” said the ambassador.
“I would like to call on the Japanese Government to address squarely the legitimate concerns of the relevant countries and stakeholders, immediately stop the discharge, engage in good faith with the countries and stakeholders, and address the nuclear-contaminated water issue in a responsible manner,” he added.
The Fukushima Daiichi plant was destroyed in March 2011 after a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake generated powerful tsunami waves that caused the meltdowns of three of its nuclear reactors, one of the worst nuclear disasters in history.
Despite widespread denunciation at home and abroad, Japan on Thursday started discharging nuclear-contaminated wastewater from the plant into the Pacific Ocean.