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The Japanese Cabinet of Ministers has reached an official decision on the discharge from the Fukushima Daiichi emergency nuclear power plant into a significant body of water that has already accumulated on the territory of the nuclear power plant. The entire Fukushima Daiichi site is currently lined with these tanks containing more than 1.25 million tons of water still contaminated, despite its purification, with isotopes of radioactive tritium, which cannot be extracted. It is better to separate the tritium, but the task is incredibly difficult and very expensive. In part, the Japanese tested this technology, but never implemented it.
According to Japanese authorities, the annual level of radioactivity in the area of water discharge from the Fukushima Daiichi will be up to 0.62 microsieverts in seawater and 1.3 microsieverts in the atmosphere, which supposedly falls within the concept of “maximum permissible concentration”.
However, due to the consequences of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and the ingress of radioactive substances into the environment, and without the discharge of this water, negative consequences have already been noted. In 2018, American wine from California was found to contain radioactive particles from the accident at Japanese nuclear power plant Fukushima. Small amounts of radioactive isotopes of Iodine and Cesium were also found in vegetables grown in South Korea and in fish caught off the Japanese coast.
According to experts, the radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi emergency nuclear power plant, although partially purified, if entering the human body, even as a result of eating ocean fish, will cause additional internal radiation, which is many times more harmful than external. The logic of the Japanese authorities is clearly erroneous and fairly common for any nuclear industry enterprise, which is that the Pacific Ocean is huge, and the concentration of those radionuclides that remain in the tanks when diluted will drop. However, for humans, such radionuclides in the environment pose a great danger, since, entering the food chain, and, ultimately, into the human body, they cause internal radiation. And it is responsible for most diseases. After Japan does pour radioactive water into the ocean, life on the planet will become even more dangerous, and not only in Japan. The Japanese themselves should know this first of all, since the population of this country has already suffered as a result of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the US Air Force, the subsequent radioactive contamination of the country and its environment.
According to the structure of the currents, after the discharge of radioactive water in the area of the nuclear power plant, fishing zones will certainly suffer, in which not only Japanese fishermen catch fish, supplying it to international food markets.
The population of Fukushima Prefecture, especially the All Japan Fishing Cooperatives Association, despite the “reassuring statements” of the country’s authorities, oppose this dump. Also, deep concern on this issue was expressed by the states neighboring with Japan, in particular, China, South Korea, Russia.
The head of the South Korean Office for the Coordination of Public Policy, Ku Yun Chol, at a briefing on April 12, in particular, said:
“The decision to dump contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean not only endangers the safety and ocean environment of the surrounding countries, but is also a unilateral decision by Japan without due discussion and permission from our country as a close neighbor. Our parliament, civil society, local authorities and local assemblies are all against the decision to dump. Even within Japan itself, not only fishermen, but also experts and society are strongly opposed to it.”
He also said that South Korea has long banned seafood imports from eight prefectures near Fukushima and is generally conducting a thorough scrutiny of all seafood. In recent months, the verification procedure and tracking measures for the entry of radioactive products into the country have been strengthened, and now South Korea will even more closely monitor the place of production of all imported seafood and check their level of radioactivity. Ku Yun Chol emphasized that South Korea plans to strengthen coordination on this issue with international organizations such as the IAEA and the WTO.
The sharply negative reaction of the Chinese authorities to Japan’s decision to discharge purified water from Fukushima Daiichi was expressed by the Chinese Foreign Ministry in a statement on April 12: “Such actions testify to extreme irresponsibility, they cause serious damage to health and threaten the safety of the population of neighboring states.” As emphasized by the Chinese diplomatic department, such unilateral actions by the Japanese side “can lead to radiation contamination of the waters of the Pacific Ocean and lead to genetic disorders.”
The Japanese media have long reported on Japanese authorities preparing a decision on the prompt discharge of purified water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in order to have time to do this even before the start of the Olympic Games in Japan.
In this regard, it is appropriate to recall that the decision to hold and postpone the Olympic Games in Japan until the summer of 2021 was made last year after the assurances of the Prime Minister of this country at that time (Shinzo Abe) that the situation after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is controlled by the Japanese government. Stating that radioactive water would have to be dumped into the Pacific Ocean in the current climate would be an extremely unfortunate option today, as it would, at the very least, lead to a heated discussion about the health of athletes who will be arriving for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Surfers, for example, planned to compete for medals 250 kilometers south of Fukushima in Tsurigasaki in the Pacific Ocean, and some other competitions were envisaged less than 60 kilometers from the nuclear power plant.
The Tokyo Olympics have been famously postponed from the summer of 2020 to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was planned that in 2021 the competition will be held in Japan from July 23 to August 8.
However, according to Kyodo, which recently conducted a social survey of residents about the holding of the Olympics in Tokyo, most Japanese residents oppose its holding in 2021. 39% of the Japanese surveyed were in favor of canceling the Games, and about 33% were in favor of postponing the Olympics. Only 24.5% of Japanese residents are positive about the fact that thousands of athletes from all over the world will come to the Japanese capital in the summer of 2021.
In these conditions, the new Japanese government, balancing on the mood of the population of its country, has been looking for an opportunity for several months to find an objective reason for canceling the Olympic Games and report it “without losing face.” Finally, as reported by the British The Times, citing responsible sources, the Japanese government is still tacitly inclined to the decision to cancel the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo “because of the Covid-19 pandemic”, intending, nevertheless, to claim the right to hosting the 2032 Games.
Since a decision is being made to refuse to host the Olympic Games, then the decision to dump water from the storage tanks of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant did not wait long in the minds of representatives of the Japanese government…
However, another problem remains: after these two decisions, how will the Japanese themselves, the athletes of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, as well as the international community, remember the current Japanese government?
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Vladimir Odintsov, expert politologist, exclusively for the online magazine ‘New Eastern Outlook’.