China, Japan embassies in Philippines trade barbs on X over West Philippine Sea corals

Japan’s Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko reiterated that oceans and coral reefs must be protected.

Charie Abarca

Charie Abarca

Philippine Daily Inquirer


Fourteen fishing vessels, part of a fleet that left Hainan on July 11, 2012, catch fish and collect rare corals nine kilometers east of Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea. PHOTO: THE WESTERN COMMAND/ THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

September 19, 2023

MANILA – The embassies of Japan and China in the Philippines have figured in a heated exchange on social media concerning Beijing’s alleged harvesting of corals in the West Philippine Sea’s Rozul Reef.

On Sunday, Japan’s Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko sounded alarm over China’s alleged act on X (formerly Twitter). He reiterated that oceans and coral reefs must be protected.

“Very alarming news. Our oceans are the lifeblood of our planet, [and] coral reefs are its colorful heartbeats. Let’s preserve [and] protect these vital ecosystems for generations to come,” he said, apparently reacting to the statement of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday that corals in the Rozul Reef are now wiped out.

The Chinese Embassy responded, saying people should be alarmed by such “disinformation.”

“People should be alarmed by the spreading of such disinformation. Oceans are indeed the lifeblood of our planet. So stop the release of contaminated nuclear water from Fukushima,” it said on X, apparently referring to Japan’s releasing of 1 million metric tons of treated radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean last August 24.

China earlier described this move of Japan as “extremely selfish and irresponsible.” Several others across the globe have similarly criticized Japan for its decision to release the treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.

The position of the Philippines on the release of Fukushima water into the ocean was not explicit but the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier released a statement saying:

“The Philippines continues to look at this issue from a science- and fact-based perspective and its impact on the waters in the region. As a coastal and archipelagic State, the Philippines attaches utmost priority to the protection and preservation of the marine environment.”

READ: PH vows to protect marine environment as Japan plans to release radioactive water

“The Philippines recognizes the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) technical expertise on this matter,” it added. has sought the comment of the DFA on China’s alleged harvesting of corals within the Philippine exclusive economic zone but it has yet to respond as of this writing.

scroll to top