Japan offering ‘hush money’ to quieten protests over wastewater plan: Chinese Embassy
Published: Jul 13, 2023 10:38 PM
Japan's dangerous move.Illustration:Liu Rui/GT

Japan's dangerous move.Illustration:Liu Rui/GT

Japan's move to provide subsidies to domestic fishing-related sectors is clearly an offer of "hush money" to keep the industry quiet, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Japan said on Thursday, in response to Japan's move to set up an 80-billion-yen ($580 million) fund to subsidize fishing industries in Fukushima-affected areas.

The move indicates that there really are problems with Japan's plan to discharge nuclear-contaminated wastewater into the ocean, said the spokesperson. Japan's move, which compensates the affected industries domestically and ignores the safety and interests of the people from neighboring countries and Pacific island countries, will surely arouse stronger doubts and condemnation from the international community, the spokesperson said.

China urges Japan to immediately stop the discharge plan, and consult with all stakeholders and the international community, and to dispose of the nuclear-contaminated wastewater in a scientific, transparent and safe manner, the spokesperson noted.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday during an interview in Lithuania that the government will make a judgment after confirming the measures to ensure safety, and he added that the release time of "around the summer" has not changed, Kyodo News reported on Thursday.

Japan's discharge plan has caused concern and outrage in the international community. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Thursday during an interview with PhoenixTV that he doesn't believe Japan's claim that the discharge plan is safe.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government currently plans to ban the import of aquatic products from 10 prefectures including Tokyo, Fukushima, Chiba and Tochigi once Japan starts discharging nuclear-contaminated wastewater, Tse Chin-wan, secretary for environment and ecology of the HKSAR, said on Wednesday.

A group of South Korean opposition lawmakers sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulation Authority to protest against Japan's discharge plan on July 10, 2023, the Yonhap News Agency reported. 
A Japanese environmental NGO and city assembly is going to hold another large-scale protest in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture on July 17. Titled "Don't discharge the contaminated water into the sea," the parade will involve local fishermen and representatives of fisheries associations, as well as experts on fish genetics and breeding and many citizens.

"The sea of our hometown, the sea of Japan, the sea of the world must not be polluted by radioactivity anymore," read the poster of the parade sent by Yoshitaka Ikarashi, a resident of Iwaki, Fukushima to the Global Times.

It is unacceptable to make the victims of the nuclear accident suffer even more and to spread marine pollution, according to the poster.