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EDITORIAL | China's Lies About Treated Water Quashed Before Energy Experts

At the International Atomic Energy Agency's annual meet, China called Japan’s treated water discharge “nuclear-contaminated.” No countries backed its position.



The second release of treated water begins at Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant on October 5. (©Kyodo)

China's opposition to the discharge into the ocean of treated water from TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is irrational and malicious. Moreover, it lacks any factual basis and is totally unacceptable.

From September 25-29, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held its annual meeting in Vienna. At the meeting, the Chinese delegate took the opportunity to strongly condemn the ocean discharge and called it "nuclear-contaminated water." 

The first discharge period ended on September 11. By then, over a month had elapsed since the discharges began. Monitoring surveys have found no abnormalities in the waters surrounding Fukushima or the marine products from the area. That demonstrates that the operation has been conducted in such a manner as to ensure safety.

Nevertheless, the Chinese government continues to make unfair, baseless accusations. Beijing's unscientific and blatantly anti-Japan attitude is appalling.

At the annual meeting, the European Union and various countries voiced their understanding concerning the release. No countries backed China's position.

The Chinese government should immediately cease its criticism of the release. The import ban on Japanese marine products must also be lifted.

Science and Technology Minister Takaichi gives a speech at the IAEA general meeting, September 25, Vienna (©Kyodo)

Commending Japan's Delegation

Japan's delegation deserves commendation. The manner in which delegates, including Science and Technology Minister Sanae Takaichi, immediately rebutted China's attacks at the IAEA general conference was laudable.

Minister Takaichi cogently explained that the IAEA itself has been involved in Japan's release of the treated water. Moreover, Japan has conscientiously shared information with the international community about the release.

Takaichi also exposed the irrationality of China's position. She pointed out, "China is the only IAEA member state disseminating statements not based on facts and imposing conspicuous import restrictions."

Takaichi also pointed out that there are multiple nuclear power plants in China. Those are releasing tritium in volumes five to 10 times the amount contained in the Fukushima releases.

Seafood market in Beijing on August 29, 2023. Sales of seafood produced in China are reported down since the start of China's embargo of Japanese products. (© Sankei by Shohei Mitsuka)

China's Irrational Ban

China has banned all marine product imports from Japan. Nonetheless, the Chinese authorities have allowed Chinese fishing boats to continue plundering the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan, and the East China Sea. Those are locations where Japanese fishermen also operate. 

Furthermore, large numbers of Chinese tourists visiting Japan have shown no reluctance to savor Japanese seafood.

Truth be told, Chinese tourists coming to Japan know full well that the release of treated water from Fukushima poses no health threat at all. Doesn't the Chinese government itself know just as well? 

If China does not base its claims on truth and science, the international community's trust will be further undermined. Beijing officials should realize that, just as they also know trust is by no means high even now. 

While Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other Japanese officials continue to patiently explain the discharge of treated water both domestically and internationally, Japan should file a formal complaint regarding China's unjustified seafood ban with the World Trade Organization.


(Read the editorial in Japanese.)

Author: Editorial Board, The Sankei Shimbun

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