Fish dolls with radioactive signs are seen during a rally against the Japanese government's plan to release wastewater from the stricken Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, at Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul on August 24, 2023. (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP)

TOKYO (Agencies): Japan’s decision to release more than 1 million metric tons of radioactive water from Fukushima nuclear plant has garnered severe criticism prompting concern over safety and contamination.

Japan has repeatedly reiterated that the water has been treated so that it does not harm the environment.

The Fukushima nuclear plant bears testimony to one of the most catastrophic nuclear meltdowns in history. Following a major earthquake, a 15-metre tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, causing a nuclear accident on 11 March 2011.

Amid growing concern, US ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, has said that he would publicly eat seafood from Fukushima to demonstrate his confidence in its safety, reported Fortune. To assuage contamination concern over the Japan’s decision to restore faith in Japan’s sea-food Emanuel in an interview with Kyodo News said that he would publicly consume fish from the Fukushima water body. Emanuel has said that he is going to visit Fukushima on 31 August to “physically show support and then to express confidence in the process that Japan has methodically pursued.” as quoted by Fortune.

According to Kyodo News, Emanuel would visit a seafood market and eat fish caught in the area at a restaurant, to show support for Japan’s government’s decision at a time when protesters have registered push back, flagging the contamination of seafood. Emanuel noted that this would not ‘show solidarity’ but help people gain trust in the “safety” of the food. Notably,

Japan is one of the world’s biggest consumers of seafood, with half its seafood demand having to be met by imports and around 80% of its domestically produced seafood staying on its own shores.

Notably, the UN has backed Japan’s assessment of the situation, with the organization’s nuclear regulator saying it is safe to release water, and that doing so will have a negligible impact on environmental health. Japan’s decision has faced opposition from within and without. Japanese locals have voiced concern and staged protests, while further anti-nuclear activists from South Korea’s Seoul have also protested the decision. Greenpeace slammed the move as “deliberate pollution,” and said it was “outraged” by the release of the water.

  • Fukushima nuclear plant water release

According to Japan officials, the radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant has been treated via a filtering process, leaving it contaminated with just one radioactive isotope, tritium. Tritium cannot be removed, so it has been diluted instead—which Tokyo has insisted means it will be safe to release.

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