Uncharted Waters: From Fukushima to The Pacific

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The Fukushima power plant (Image credit: Benar News)

Fukushima, a tsunami and earthquake-wrecked nuclear power plant located in Japan, has already begun releasing its first batch of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, a controversial plan that has received backlash from multiple countries. The Fukushima disaster, which evacuated 150,000 from their homes, contains high levels of radioactivity even today. This controversial step has prompted China to ban all seafood from Japan.  

Chinese customs authorities go on to state that this ban would take place immediately, and they would take measures to prevent the risks of nuclear-contaminated water discharge in order to protect citizen health and food safety.

This ban would entail stopping imports of all aquatic products originating from Japan, meaning the ban could affect goods such as sea salt and seaweed as well as seafood. As a result of this preliminary ban, Japanese fishing groups fear the release of radioactive water could hurt the reputation of Japan-produced seafood due to worldwide concerns. 

This situation has faced commentary from all parts of the world, but Japan communicated to China directly on August 24th. In response to China’s ban on aquatic products, Tomoaki Kobayakawa, the president of Tokyo Electric Power Company, has pledged to help local businesses suffering from the export ban. He also pledged to work on convincing China to drop the ban by providing a scientific explanation of their plan to ensure Fukushima wastewater will not affect the ocean and the health of marine life, particularly marine life meant for consumption.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has also pleaded with China to revoke the ban, requesting that China participate in a “scientific discussion” rather than move to ban all products without consideration. Kishida has also stated that to help Japan’s fishing industry recover from the embargo, they would begin taking several measures. The Japanese government will borrow the equivalent of hundreds of millions of US dollars from the government’s budget reserves to fund such efforts. Tokyo’s government has begun setting up funds worth 548 million US dollars for measures such as developing sales channels and to keep fish frozen until demand recovers.

Despite concerns that wastewater released from Fukushima will negatively impact Japan’s waters, a review of the water released from Fukushima shows that the water is entirely safe. Tony Hooker, director of the Center for Radiation Research at the University of Adelaide, stated that the water released from Fukushima poses no danger for human consumption “It certainly is well below the World Health Organization drinking water guidelines,” he commented. Despite the urges from Japan and scientific evidence provided, China remains firm in its stance and continues to implement the ban.

Written by Kevin Han

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