Call for Japan to be suspended from PIF


There has been outrage across the Pacific and calls for regional governments to make a stand, following revelations that Japan is set to dump nuclear radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.

The Pacific Advocate reported yesterday that Japan had already commenced preliminary plans, following their recent announcement regarding the construction of vessels which will hold the wastewater.

Pacific based civil society bodies and non-governmental organisations have called on Japan to reconsider this and to stop using the Pacific as a dumping ground.

Writing on The Pacific Advocate’s Facebook page, Fijian election candidate for Sodelpa Jovilisi Suveinakama said, “The Pacific region must give its formal notification of objection, with a definite timeline for a solution. Should this not be adhered to then Japan must be immediately suspended as International Observer from the Pacific Islands Forum and from all CROP agencies.”

Japan recently announced the progression of the construction of facilities needed for a planned release of Advanced Liquid Processing System treated radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean come 2023.

The nation has also announced that it will be reverting back to mostly nuclear energy and this has raised concerns.

The only way Japan will back down from this plan is if the final tests before dumping show that the wastewater is still radioactive.

The Pacific Islands Forum is liaising with Japan and the international bodies responsible for nuclear energy.

Pacific Islands Forum secretary general and Ocean’s Commissioner Henry Puna with Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in June discussing the nuclear wastewater discharge into the Pacific. Picture: PIF

Youngsolwara Pacific argues that Japan’s plans to proceed with the construction of facilities for its planned dumping of radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean demonstrates the level of ignorance and carelessness of the Japanese Government and is a breach of Pacific peoples fundamental rights to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

The group have based their argument on the UN Human Rights Council adopted resolution 88/13 which says that a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a human right which more 150 countries have recognised.

“It would be both premature and unconscionable for the government of Japan to proceed with its plans of construction, without proper consultation with, and consent from, governments and people in the wider Pacific,” said Luisa Tuilau of Youngsolwara Pacific.

“The ocean remains our life source and such an action would violate this life source.”

Since Japan announced its plans in April 2021, Pacific leaders and civil society groups across the region and globally have expressed serious reservations, with many calling on Japan to look into other options for disposing of the radioactive waste, including storing it on land until appropriate technology can be developed to safely dispose of the radioactive waste, rather than discharging it into the Pacific Ocean.

Despite the publicly expressed concerns, the construction of facilities needed for a planned release of radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant began on August 4, 2022.

According to the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, construction of a pipeline to transport the wastewater from hillside storage tanks to a coastal facility and the digging of an undersea tunnel have commenced.

DIVA for Equality’s Noelene Nabulivou said Japan looked ready to dump the wastewater into the Pacific.

“This is all happening in the context of massive loss and damage from the climate emergency, that is also not of our making,” she said.

The Marshall Islands are no strangers to the topic of nuclear energy. President of the Marshall Islands Students Association, Bedi Racule said the impacts of the nuclear testing legacy in the Pacific continues to affected islands and people.

“We cannot afford another scenario such as Fukushima’s dumping plan. Scientists are already warning that the impact of long-term, low-dose exposure to not only tritium but also other isotopes on the environment and humans is still unknown and that release of the wastewater is premature,” he said.

“We cannot allow another manmade disaster such as Fukushima’s planned nuclear waste disposal to impact the fragile state of our Pacific Ocean,” said Reverend James Bhagwan of the Pacific Council of Churches. Picture: UN Women

Secretary General of the Pacific Conference of Churches, Rev. James Bhagwan said the health of the Pacific ocean and the planet had declined due to human stressors.

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“We cannot allow another manmade disaster such as Fukushima’s planned nuclear waste disposal to impact the fragile state of our Pacific Ocean,” he said.

The collective of Pacific NGOs and movements are also seeking clarity from the Pacific Ocean Commissioner, Henry Puna, and the Pacific panel of Independent global experts on Nuclear Issues, on the outcome of numerous meetings with Japan and the International Atomic Energy Agency.



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