China reacts strongly to release of Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water

Bloomberg: I had a question about China’s announcement today that it would halt the import of all Japanese fish to protect the lives and health of Chinese people. We want to know what the scientific reason for the ban is. If China is concerned that the release of wastewater from Fukushima will contaminate all the waters surrounding the Japanese archipelago, then wouldn’t it also endanger the waters around the Korean Peninsula and Russia? Is China considering banning seafood imports from those countries as well?

Wang Wenbin: The General Administration of Customs of China issued an announcement on suspending the import of all aquatic products originating from Japan earlier today, which you may refer to.

On August 24, in disregard of the strong criticism and opposition from the international community, the Japanese government unilaterally started the release of the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns it. We have made serious démarches to Japan and asked it to stop this wrongdoing.

The disposal of the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water is a major issue about nuclear safety. Its impact goes beyond Japan’s borders, and the issue is by no means a private matter for Japan. Since humanity began using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, there has been neither any precedent nor universally recognized standards for discharging nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean. The Fukushima nuclear accident which took place 12 years ago was a major catastrophe that already caused the leakage of large amounts of radioactive substances into the ocean. There could be a man-made secondary disaster to the local people and the whole world if Japan chooses to dump the water into the ocean just to serve Japan’s selfish interests.

The Japanese government failed to prove the legitimacy and legality of the ocean discharge decision, the long-term reliability of the purification facility, and the authenticity and accuracy of the nuclear-contaminated water data. It failed to prove that the ocean discharge is safe and harmless to the marine environment and people’s health, and that the monitoring plan is sound and effective. Japan also failed to have thorough consultations with other stakeholders. The ocean belongs to all humanity. To forcibly start the ocean discharge is an extremely selfish and irresponsible act in disregard of the global public interest. By dumping the water into the ocean, Japan is spreading the risks to the rest of the world and passing an open wound onto the future generations of humanity. By doing so, Japan has turned itself into a saboteur of the ecological system and polluter of the ocean. It is infringing upon people’s rights to health, development and a healthy environment, which violates Japan’s moral responsibilities and obligations under international law. From the moment Japan started the discharge, it has put itself in the dock in front of the international community and is bound to face international condemnation for many years to come.

The Chinese government always puts our people’s wellbeing first, and will take all measures necessary to safeguard food safety and the health of our people.

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