Western media accused of double standards as it downplays Fukushima water disposal
Published: Apr 13, 2021 11:25 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

In a move that startled people all over the world, Japan has decided to dump radioactive water from Fukushima into the sea. But netizens have been surprised by the relatively muted coverage of it in mainstream Western media.

The New York Times published one article on it that expressed relatively little alarm, while The Washington Post stressed that Japan will release the water "after treatment," in an apparent effort to justify Japan's decision, netizens said. "The United States lent its support to Japan's decision but China and South Korea were unhappy," the report said.

The topic "the Western media are almost silent this time" was trending on Chinese Twitter-like social platform Sina Weibo, and has been viewed 74.8 million times as of press time. There was also a widely circulated question on Chinese social media on Tuesday: "How would Western media cover it if it were China dumping nuclear waste into the sea?"

The mainstream Western media often has critical opinions in reports on international affairs but the claws were put away even though Japan's decision apparently disregards wider human interests, netizens said. 

"You keep pointing fingers on the Xinjiang issue, spreading rumors on Xinjiang's cotton, but you lost your voice on pollution that affects all of mankind," one netizen said, noting that this example should "forever be nailed to the hall of shame of human conscience!"

Many noted that Western NGOs dedicated to human rights or environmental protection, which have long targeted China, have kept silent over the Fukushima water issue. "Shame on them," read a typical comment.

"After Washington backed Tokyo on the Fukushima water disposal, which other Western countries dared to express objections? None!" said a netizen.

Some netizens also mocked Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, saying "where is the 'environmental-protection ambassador'? Why is she so silent on the issue?"

In fact, Thunberg on Tuesday only forwarded the news of the Fukushima water disposal and retweeted the decision without any comment, like most Western media, in contrast with her public image of being very sharp-tongued on environmental protection issues.