By Jana Zoriry
The Pacific Islands Forum on Tuesday expressed concern over the disposal of waste from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.
Forum Secretary-General Dame Meg Taylor called on the Government of Japan to hold off on its decision until a consultation is carried out and an independent expert review is undertaken.
On Monday 12th April 2021, Japan announced its decision to dispose radioactive wastewater into the Pacific ocean.
The decision drawn criticisms within the country and outside. China, South Korea and Pacific among them.
“We knew about Japan’s plans to dispose wastes into the Pacific, two years 8 months ago and have approached the Embassy of Japan here in Fiji.
“We were told they was no decision and that they were looking at other ways of disposing nuclear wastes.
“But the decision as of Monday 12th of April 2021, Japan will dispose nuclear wastes from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific which is a pose a huge threat to us,” says the Secretary-General via Zoom.
Dame Meg Taylor reaffirmed the Pacific Islands Forum’s position in keeping the region free from environment pollution by radioactive wastes and other radioactive matter, through the Treaty of Rarotonga also known as the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty.
“At the Meeting of the States Parties to the Treaty of Rarotonga just four months ago on 15 December 2020, Forum Members reaffirmed unity in our continued commitment to a nuclear-free Pacific and a nuclear-weapons-free world, and further reaffirmed our determination for a region free of environmental pollution by radioactive wastes and other radioactive matter.”
Japan is bound by International Law and obligated to take all appropriate measures within its territory to prevent significant transboundary destruction to the territories of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone.
The wastewater, though treated, may still contain radioactive tritium and can potentially harm the Pacific, including possible environmental, health and ecocomic impacts.
“Our fisheries and oceans resources are critical to our Pacific livelihoods and must be protected.”