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Micronesia and Japan Affirm Friendship With Cooperation on UN Security Council, Treated Water Release

The leaders reaffirmed their broad cooperation and promotion of respect for international law and Japan's transparency on ALPS treated water releases.



Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and President David Panuelo of the Federated States of Micronesia shake hands before their summit meeting on the afternoon of February 2 at the Prime Minister's Official Residence (© Sankei by Ataru Haruna).

On February 2, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida welcomed President David Panuelo of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) to the Prime Minister's Official Residence. In light of the growing activity of China in the South Pacific region, the two affirmed their commitment to stronger cooperation toward the realization of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. They also discussed Tokyo's plan to discharge treated water from TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant into the ocean this spring.

After the meeting, the two leaders issued a Joint Statement. On the issue of ALPS-treated water, they observed that the meeting had "increased the FSM’s trust in Japan's intentions and Japan's technological capabilities in not harming our shared oceanic assets and resources," 

They also discussed the need to strengthen the role of the United Nations, including reform of the Security Council. President Panuelo expressed support for Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the Security Council.

treated water
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and President David Panuelo of the Federated States of Micronesia (second from left) at a summit on the afternoon of February 2, 2023, at the Prime Minister's Official Residence (© Sankei by Ataru Haruna).

China's Fearmongering

President Panuelo's trip follows the Chinese foreign ministry press conference on December 14, 2022, where Wang Wenbin accused Japan's decision of being "highly irresponsible." He asserted, "Japan must not start discharging the nuclear-contaminated water [treated water] into the ocean before having full consultation."

In the Japan-China High-Level Consultation on Maritime Affairs held online in November 2022, Beijing asserted that Japan's decision to release treated water had raised concerns among island nations.

In April 2021, the Japanese government announced its decision to begin releasing the treated water into the ocean in 2023. Although traces of tritium, a radioactive substance found in nature, will remain in the treated water after purification by the multi-nuclide removal system ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System), it will be diluted with seawater to levels below international guidelines before release. As a result, the tritium concentration will be less than 1,500 becquerels per liter (33.81 ounces).

This amount is only 1/40 of the regulatory standard for discharge set by Japan (60,000 becquerels per liter). It is also significantly lower than the World Health Organization's (WHO) guidelines for drinking water quality (10,000 becquerels per liter).

Storage tanks of treated water lined up on the premises of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (bottom of photo) in February 2022 (© Sankei).

Safety and Transparency

The Japanese government has been working to ensure safety through inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). To move forward with transparency, it has also explained its decision to foreign governments, including China. But China has continued to criticize Japan in an effort to spread fear among other countries.

For Japan, dispelling the concerns among island nations is a particular priority. For instance, President Panuelo expressed his "gravest concern" regarding the treated water at the UN General Assembly in September 2022. Numerous other island nations have raised similar concerns at international conferences. 


Some have interpreted China's efforts as an attempt to wage an information war involving the island nations to gain political advantage in the international community. There are growing calls for vigilance on this point within the Japanese government.

In a telephone call with FSM Foreign Minister Kandhi Elieisar in September 2022, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi explained that "Japan would advance its efforts in a transparent manner … in close cooperation with the international community including the IAEA." 

IAEA Secretary-General Grossi (second from right) inspecting TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on May 19, 2022 (pool photo).

In addition, the Japanese government affirmed it will continue to hold briefings for foreign embassy officials residing in Tokyo.

Harmful rumors regarding the release of treated water from the nuclear plant could also affect the fishing industry. Fishermen fear the rumors affect the price they are offered for their catch. Therefore, the Japanese government is accelerating efforts to dispel these rumors. It continues to seek understanding from the international community by presenting explanations based on scientific evidence.


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: The Sankei Shimbun