Commenting on the report released by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), on the disposal of nuclear-contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station – Japan, the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s Remarks are strong and clear.

China noted the Report on the disposal of nuclear-contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station released by the IAEA. It is learned that the report failed to fully reflect the views of experts that participated in the review. The conclusion was not shared by all experts. The Chinese side regrets the hasty release of the report.

It is believed that the IAEA report should not be the “shield” or “green light” for Japan’s discharge of nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean. Due to its limited mandate, the IAEA failed to review the justification and legitimacy of Japan’s ocean discharge plan, assess the long-term effectiveness of Japan’s purification facility and corroborate the authenticity and accuracy of Japan’s nuclear-contaminated water data. Therefore the conclusion is largely limited and incomplete. We noted that Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi stated that the IAEA conducted the review at the request of the Japanese government and the report is neither a recommendation nor an endorsement of Japan’s ocean discharge policy. 

Simply for saving costs, Japan has insisted on discharging the nuclear-contaminated water into the sea in disregard of the concerns and opposition from the international community and taking the Pacific Ocean as the “sewer”. No matter what the report says, it will not change the fact that Japan will release millions of tons of Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean in the next three decades. Will Japan’s purification facility be effective in the long term? Can the international community be timely informed when the discharged water exceeds the discharge limit? What impact will the long-term accumulation and concentration of radionuclides bring to the marine environment, food safety, and people’s health? These are the questions that the IAEA report failed to answer.

Twelve years ago, Japan received support from all over the world in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident. Twelve years on, Japan has chosen to shift the risk of nuclear contamination onto the whole of humanity. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) stipulates that States have the obligation to protect and preserve the marine environment, and the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter in 1972 prohibits the dumping of all radioactive wastes into the ocean from man-made structures at sea. What Japan does contravenes its international moral responsibility and obligations under international law.

It is strongly urged that the Japanese side stop its ocean discharge plan, and earnestly dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water in a science-based, safe, and transparent manner. If Japan insists on going ahead with the plan, it will have to bear all the consequences arising from this. We urge the Japanese side to work with the IAEA to put in place as soon as possible a long-term international monitoring mechanism that would involve stakeholders including Japan’s neighboring countries. Although China is an immediate neighbor, but its impact may be much wider and to many other nations and countries of the region as well as globally.

The Pacific Ocean is home to many nations and countries of the region and an important trade route for International trade. Pollution of the Pacific Ocean may harm humanity, the consequences may be beyond imagination. It is desired that IAEA may take more time and conduct in-depth studies, considering all possible aspects and risks, before releasing it finally. Scared, in hap hazardous manner, some important aspects are overlooked and may cause disaster to humankind.

All responsible nations and countries must spare time to re-evaluate the far-reaching impact on humankind. It is suggested that a second assessment may be exercised in a professional manner and reach a conclusion, which is safer for humankind.

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