Monday, October 25, 2021

South Korea protests against Japan’s Fukushima radioactive water plans

But US climate envoy John Kerry reaffirms Washington's confidence in the Tokyo plan to release contaminated water into the sea.

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South Korea has raised its concerns over Japan’s decision to release contaminated water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.

Seoul voiced concerns to visiting US climate envoy John Kerry, its foreign ministry said, but Kerry reaffirmed Washington’s confidence in the Tokyo plan’s transparency.

Kerry arrived in Seoul on Saturday to discuss international efforts to tackle global warming on a trip that included a stop in China ahead of President Joe Biden’s virtual summit with world leaders on climate change on April 22-23.

South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong sought to rally support behind the country’s protest against the Fukushima plan at a dinner meeting with Kerry, the ministry said.

Under Tokyo’s plan, more than one million tonnes of water will be discharged from the plant, which was wrecked by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, into the nearby sea off Japan’s east coast.

Seoul strongly objected to the plan, with the foreign ministry summoning the Japanese ambassador.

“Foreign Minister Chung conveyed our government and people’s serious concerns about Japan’s decision, and asked the US side to take interest and cooperate so that Japan will provide information in a more transparent and speedy manner,” the ministry said in a statement.

But Kerry, at a media roundtable on Sunday, said Tokyo had made the decision in a transparent manner and will continue following due procedures.

“The US is confident that the government of Japan is in very full consultations with the IAEA,” he said, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“The IAEA has set up a very rigorous process and I know that Japan has weighed all the options and the effects, and they’ve been very transparent about the decision and the process.”

The former US secretary of state added that Washington would closely monitor Japan’s implementation “like every country, to make certain there is no public health threat”.

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