July 6, 2023
TOKYO – Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi has made arrangements to meet individually with his Chinese and South Korean counterparts regarding Japan’s planned Fukushima treated water discharge.
The talks will take place when the three ministers are present at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting to be held in Indonesia in the middle of this month.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, in a report issued Tuesday, found Japan’s plans to discharge treated water from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the sea are consistent with international safety standards. Based on this, Hayashi intends to seek the understanding of Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang and South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin.
The Chinese government and some South Korean media have been raising concerns about the treated water by issuing unsubstantiated claims.
The same day the U.N. specialized agency IAEA released its report, Chinese Ambassador Wu Jianghao held a news conference in Tokyo calling on Japan to withdraw the discharge plan.
“It is unprecedented for contaminated water from a nuclear accident to be released into the sea,” Wu said.
Later in the day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno expressed his displeasure at the ambassador’s comments.
“China has been sending out content that contradicts the facts,” said Matsuno, the government’s top spokesperson. “We have strongly demanded that discussions be based on scientific points of view.”
Online media in South Korea have also alleged that Japan donated money to the IAEA to have the contents of the report revised.
Representatives of these media held a press conference in Seoul the same day, claiming that the IAEA changed the contents of the report by order of the Japanese government.
Japan had been less sensitive to the threat posed by the information warfare being waged by nations such as China. After learning harsh lessons from the spread of one-sided allegations made to the international community that were not based on facts, the Foreign Ministry is stepping up its monitoring of disinformation regarding the treated water from Fukushima.
“We are strongly opposing irresponsible disinformation,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hikariko Ono said.