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Fukushima: South Korea angry with Japan

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South Korea on Tuesday expressed deep regret over Japan‘s decision to dump water contaminated by the wreckage of its Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea.

Tokyo announced earlier today that it plans to start discharging huge amounts of radioactive water, which has been stored in tanks at the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant, in two years.

Koo Yoon-cheol, head of the South Korean Bureau for Government Policy Coordination, convened an emergency deputy ministerial meeting at 10 a.m. in the Seoul government complex to discuss Seoul’s position and measures continued to Japan ’s announcement.

“The government deeply regrets the decision of the Japanese government to discharge the contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean,” Koo said in the news.

He added that the government would take all necessary measures in accordance with the principle of protecting the South Korean people from contaminated water from the Fukushima plant.

Seoul urged Tokyo to ensure transparent disclosure and verification of information relating to the overall process of treating contaminated water.

“Regarding the latest Tokyo decision, we will clearly deliver our people’s protest to the Japanese government. We will demand specific measures from Japan to ensure the safety of our populations and avoid damage to the marine environment, ” Koo added.

Koo also said the government would bring its concerns to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and call on the international community to objectively review the safety concerns related to the Fukushima water discharge.

Seoul also plans to strengthen radiological checks on imported food and inspections of the origins of food imports, Koo said.

In response to what appears to be Washington‘s consent to the Tokyo decision, Koo said he believes the US State Department’s statement tends more to emphasize the need for IAEA verification.

“We have expressed our concerns to the United States, but the United States can respond that way since South Korea is a neighboring state (of Japan) and the United States is located further away (than Korea South), ”Koo said.

The US State Department said on a website that Japan “has been transparent about its decision” on the discharge of water from Fukushima and appears to have taken an approach consistent with globally accepted nuclear safety standards. “

Tokyo was expected to announce its plan to phase out into the Pacific Ocean more than 1.2 million tonnes of radioactive water stored in reservoirs since the 2011 collapses following an earthquake. and a tsunami.

Japan argued that this was the most realistic and relatively harmless method of disposal, but the plan had aroused strong opposition and concern among the public in both Korea and Japan.

During a virtual press briefing for local media in March, a Japanese government official said Tokyo could not continue to delay the disposal of contaminated water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant due to limitations in storage of tanks.

Later that day, the Seoul Foreign Ministry called Koichi Aiboshi, Japan’s main envoy to Seoul, to protest Tokyo’s decision to release contaminated water from the destroyed nuclear power plant.

Political parties have also unanimously denounced Tokyo and demanded that Japan immediately revoke its controversial decision.

“The unilateral decision to dump contaminated water into the ocean despite opposition from the international community is a selfish and shameless act,” said Choi Ji-eun, ruling Democratic Party spokesperson for international affairs .

Won Hee-ryong, the governor of Jeju Island in southern South Korea, also said he would appeal to the Japanese consul general for the island and form an emergency commission to manage the release of water with the heads of local governments in the south-eastern region.

Civic groups in South Korea have also expressed resentment towards the Japanese government and pledged to do everything possible to prevent what they call nuclear terror.

“The Japanese government has said it will gradually release radioactive water after diluting it to a level that is harmless to the human body.

“But the dilution will not change the total amount of radioactive material released into the sea,” an alliance of 31 anti-nuclear and environmental civic groups said in a joint statement.

The groups warned that the release of Fukushima’s water would become an irreparable disaster for humans beyond the marine ecosystem. (Yonhap / NAN)

(NAN)

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