By Cha Hye Gyong, Researcher of the Institute for Studies of Japan
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Japan is attempting to once again pollute the blue sea – a common treasure shared by humankind – with the nuclear waste.
On April 13, the Japanese government adopted a decision, in disregard of the strong opposition from the international society, to dump into the sea a large amount of highly concentrated radioactive waste water which had been generated during the accident at Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Alarming is that the waste water contains amount of tritium and other radioactive substances far greater than the permitted standard, which would endanger human survival and ecological soundness.
President of Japan National Fishermen’s Cooperative Association and the associates engaged in fishing have reportedly filed a petition against the government’s decision.
It is the general view of experts that while Japan claims to have filtered out most of the radioactive substances, it is impossible to completely decontaminate the nuclear contaminants.
Sea currents off the coast of Fukushima are known to be fast, and therefore, if the radioactive waste water is dumped into the sea, which would inflict fatal damages on human health and lives, it is projected that the coastal area around Jeju island located in the southern part of Korea would be contaminated in a few months and the whole East Sea of Korea in a year, and ultimately the whole Pacific Ocean would turn into an “ocean of death.”
It needs to be highlighted that the maneuvers of the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Holding Inc. to avoid ensuring openness and transparency and cover up the truth for the last 10 years concerning the handling of nuclear plant accident and the treatment of nuclear contaminants have been brought to light several times, thus triggering accusations and protests from the neighboring countries and the international society.
In light of these maneuvers, the neighboring countries don’t count on Japan, and they are expressing their concern that the Japanese decision, if put into practice, will cause irretrievable consequences not only to the ecosystem and fishing resources of the adjacent seas but also to the human survival.
Humankind vividly remembers the appalling calamities brought to the people in the past due to the spread in Japan of all kinds of diseases such as “Itaiitai disease”, “Minamata disease” and “Yokkaichi asthma” – spillover from environmental pollution.
It has now been further laid bare by the latest decision that Japan is indeed a lawless state that does not hesitate to victimize the whole of humankind, to say nothing of its own people, for achieving its selfish objectives.
As a maritime country that benefits more from the sea than any other country, Japan should immediately rescind its wrongful decision that would only serve to endanger the safety of its own people and the people of other countries.