TOKYO — The Japanese government announced on Tuesday that treated and diluted radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will be released into the ocean as early as Thursday.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida provided the final approval during a meeting of Cabinet ministers involved in the plan. He instructed Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, the operator of the plant, to be prepared for the coastal release on Thursday, pending favorable weather and sea conditions.
This significant development comes after nearly 12 and a half years since the nuclear meltdowns in March 2011, which were triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.
Kishida emphasized that the release of the water is crucial for the progress of the plant decommissioning and the overall recovery of Fukushima.
He assured those present at the meeting that the government has taken all necessary steps to ensure safety, address concerns about the impact on fisheries, and provide transparent and scientific explanations to both domestic and international audiences. Kishida pledged continued efforts until the completion of the release and decommissioning process.
While Japanese fisheries groups have expressed opposition to the plan due to potential reputational damage to their seafood, concerns have also been raised by groups in China and South Korea. Consequently, this issue has become both political and diplomatic in nature.
Both the government and TEPCO maintain that the treatment and dilution process will render the wastewater safer than international standards, with negligible environmental impact. However, some scientists argue that attention should be paid to the long-term effects of the residual low-dose radioactivity in the water.
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