China has banned imports of Japanese seafood products following Japan’s release of nuclear waste water into the ocean. Japanese officials say the water has been treated, and the release plan was greenlit two years ago…
Suited-up nuclear techs inspect the Fukushima plant: Release of
treated waste water is triggering domestic protests and
international bans on Japanese seafood imports.
The Chinese Customs Bureau said in a statement: “China is highly concerned about the risk of radioactive contamination brought by […] Japan’s food and agricultural products.”
A Chinese Foreign Ministry release specifically alleged the Japanese release was unsafe, and motiviated by greed: “The Japanese side should not cause secondary harm to the local people and even the people of the world out of its own selfish interests.”
In light of the precautions taken by Japanese nuclear authorities, it seems a cheap shot from China. But The Land of Xi takes every opportunity to slag off Japan and Taiwan.
A little history…
A tsunami following a 9.0 intensity earthquake in 2011 triggered meltdowns in three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. It’s taken a decade to carefully decommission the plant. Release of the treated waste water is among the final steps in the process.
For the record the amount of water involved in the initial release is about 7,800 cubic metres – the equivalent of three olympic-sized swimming pools.
The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) reported that the wastewater tested well bellow the international standard for radioactivity. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that.
“There are not going to be any health effects […] There is no scientific reason to ban imports of Japanese food whatsoever,” Geraldine Thomas, former Professor of Molecular Pathology at London’s Imperial College, agreed.
But China, along with Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea, are keeping their bans in place – for now. North Korea called the release, “a crime against humanity.”
Japanese seafood workers not convinced
Fishing groups remain skeptical. China is a major market for Japanese seafood: “All we want is to be able to continue fishing,” the head of the Japan Fisheries Co-operative said in a statement. There’s already a great deal of anxiety in the community, he added, citing years of radiation fears following the Fukushima disaster.
The release of treated waste water has also sparked public protests in Japan. Protesters have gathered daily at TEPCO headquarters in Tokyo since the announcement of the release, carrying banners reading, “Don’t throw contaminated water into the sea!”
“The Fukushima nuclear disaster is not over. This time only around 1 percent of the water will be released,” 71-year-old protester Jun Iizuka, told Reuters. “From now on, we will keep fighting for a long time to stop the long-term discharge of contaminated water.”
~ Maggie J.