China urges Japan to halt Fukushima wastewater discharge and comply with international oversight

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Li Song, China's permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

25th November 2023 – (Beijing) In a firm stance against Japan’s decision to release nuclear-contaminated wastewater from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean, a Chinese envoy reiterated China’s opposition and called on Japan to fully adhere to stringent international supervision. Li Song, China’s permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), expressed these concerns during a meeting of the IAEA board of governors.

Li Song criticised Japan for persistently moving forward with its Fukushima wastewater discharge plan, disregarding doubts and strong opposition from the international community and affected nations. He emphasized that Japan’s discharge plan is not solely a domestic matter but a significant nuclear safety issue that impacts the global marine environment, public health, and international interests. China firmly opposes Japan’s plan and urges them to cease the wastewater discharge.

The Chinese envoy highlighted that the Fukushima wastewater release involves an unprecedented artificial release of contaminated water from nuclear accidents into the ocean. The cumulative effects of releasing substantial quantities of radionuclides into the sea raise numerous uncertainties. Li Song emphasised that China has consistently advocated for and actively promoted enhanced international oversight of Japan’s wastewater discharge plan. The goal is to continuously improve the long-term international supervision arrangements for the plan.

Li urged the IAEA Secretariat to maintain an objective, impartial, and scientific approach, enhance communication with member states, and continually strengthen the international monitoring mechanisms for Japan’s plan. He called upon IAEA member states and the agency’s board of governors to contribute to the improvement of international supervision arrangements and conduct regular reviews of these arrangements, including Japan’s discharge plan.

Furthermore, Li underlined that Japan should engage in comprehensive consultations with relevant countries, take the concerns and opinions of all relevant parties seriously, and actively support the continuous improvement and strengthening of international oversight arrangements.

China urged Japan to responsibly and constructively continue discussions with the IAEA Secretariat and member states, fully complying with strict international supervision. Li stressed the importance of preventing long-term harm to the marine environment and public health caused by Japan’s wastewater discharge. China expressed willingness to collaborate with all relevant parties in supporting the IAEA’s leading role in addressing the Fukushima issue. China is prepared to actively participate in efforts to strengthen independent, long-term, and effective international supervision arrangements.