Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Remarks on Japanese Government Decision to Discharge Nuclear Wastewater from Fukushima Nuclear Plant into the Sea

On April 13, the Japanese government decided to dispose of the nuclear wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant accident by discharging it into the sea. As a close neighbor and stakeholder, the Chinese side expresses grave concern over this.

The Fukushima nuclear accident is one of the most serious in world history. The leak of large amounts of radioactive materials has had far-reaching implications on the marine environment, food safety and human health. A review report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expert team points out that if the wastewater containing tritium from the Fukushima nuclear plant is discharged into the sea, it will affect the marine environment and people's health of neighboring countries and that the treated wastewater needs to be further purified to remove other radionuclides. A report by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) also believes that the impact of the wastewater on the marine ecological environment requires continued monitoring. According to a German marine scientific research institute, with the world's strongest currents along the coast of Fukushima, radioactive materials could spread to most of the Pacific Ocean within 57 days from the date of discharge, and reach all oceans of the globe in a decade. Greenpeace nuclear experts say the level of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 in the wastewater will remain hazardous for thousands of years with the potential to cause genetic damage.

Despite doubts and opposition from home and abroad, Japan has unilaterally decided to release the Fukushima nuclear wastewater into the sea before exhausting all safe ways of disposal and without fully consulting with neighboring countries and the international community. This is highly irresponsible and will severely affect human health and the immediate interests of people in neighboring countries.

The oceans are mankind's shared property. How the wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant is handled is not merely a domestic issue for Japan. We strongly urge the Japanese side to face up to its responsibility, follow the science, fulfill its international obligations and duly respond to the serious concerns of the international community, neighboring countries and its own people. It should reevaluate the issue and refrain from wantonly discharging the wastewater before reaching consensus with all stakeholders and the IAEA through full consultations. China will continue to watch closely the developments of the matter together with the international community and reserves the right to make further reactions.

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