23rd September 2023 – (United Nations) Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare strongly criticised Japan’s decision to release over 1 million tons of nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean, describing it as an assault on global trust and solidarity. Speaking at the General Debate of the UN General Assembly, Sogavare expressed solidarity with fellow Pacific island nations and expressed shock at Japan’s actions.
Sogavare highlighted that the assessment report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is inconclusive and the scientific data provided remains insufficient, incomplete, and biased. These concerns were disregarded by Japan, according to the prime minister.
If the nuclear-contaminated water is indeed safe, it should be stored within Japan instead of being dumped into the ocean, Sogavare argued. The fact that it is being discharged raises doubts about its safety.
He emphasised, “The consequences of this act are transboundary and intergenerational, constituting an attack on global trust and solidarity. It sends a clear message that our lives and our people do not matter!”
Sogavare called on Japan to explore alternative options for addressing the treated nuclear wastewater and to immediately halt the discharge into the Pacific Ocean. He stressed the importance of honesty and transparency in protecting the oceans, which are the lifeblood of Pacific island communities, to rebuild trust and reignite global solidarity.
The prime minister emphasised his moral obligation to speak out against Japan’s discharge of nuclear-contaminated water from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean. He stated that he feels compelled to advocate for humanity, the voiceless, and future generations.
“We are the ocean. It encompasses our past, our present, and our future. It is the essence of our existence and our identity,” he declared. “I implore Japan to cease the discharge of nuclear treated water, for if we fail to act, history will judge us harshly.”
The Solomon Islands joins other Pacific island nations in expressing deep concern over Japan’s decision, highlighting the potential environmental and health risks posed by the release of nuclear-contaminated water. The international community continues to debate the issue, with calls for greater transparency, comprehensive scientific assessments, and consideration of alternative solutions to address the treated wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.