China calls for heightened international oversight on Japan’s Fukushima wastewater disposal

Li Song

5th March 2024 – (Vienna) China has voiced staunch opposition to Japan’s ongoing release of nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant into the ocean, advocating for more rigorous global oversight of the process. This stance was articulated by Li Song, China’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) during a recent board meeting.

Li highlighted that Japan has proceeded with the discharge of over 23,000 tonnes of contaminated water into the marine environment, despite widespread disapproval from neighbouring countries and the international community. He underscored the global risks posed by such actions, which he believes should not be considered an internal matter for Japan alone.

The envoy criticised Japan’s use of the IAEA’s endorsement for its wastewater discharge plan, suggesting it undermines the integrity of the agency and the established international nuclear safety framework. According to Li, China’s approach to the issue is grounded in science and responsibility, raising questions about the legitimacy and safety of Japan’s practices.

Recent seismic activity near the Noto Peninsula and reported leakages from Fukushima’s water purification systems have further exacerbated these concerns, reinforcing the call for intensified supervision.

China urges Japan to acknowledge both domestic and international anxieties and to actively engage in creating long-term, transparent, and effective oversight mechanisms with the participation of affected countries. Li’s remarks indicate China’s willingness to foster communication and cooperation with all involved parties to ensure that the oceans remain clean and safe for global communities.