Korea calls for IAEA role in Ja­pan dump­ing of ra­dioac­tive wa­ter

‘Field in­spec­tion needed on nu­clear ac­ci­dent site in Ja­pan’

The Korea Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Lee Min-hyung mh­[email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

The govern­ment is mov­ing to step up its cam­paign to op­pose Ja­pan’s plans to dump con­tam­i­nated wa­ter into the Pa­cific Ocean by seek­ing the sup­port of the global nu­clear en­ergy author­ity.

This comes amid lin­ger­ing un­cer­tainty over Tokyo’s han­dling of 1.15 mil­lion tons of wa­ter con­tam­i­nated af­ter the cat­a­strophic melt­down of re­ac­tors at the Fukushima Dai­ichi Nu­clear Power Plant in 2011.

Ja­pan has yet to con­firm how it will dis­pose of the ra­dioac­tive wa­ter, and is still con­sid­er­ing re­leas­ing it into the Pa­cific. South Korea as its clos­est neigh­bor has in re­cent months ex­pressed deep re­gret over such a plan.

The Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs said it would con­tinue to look for sup­port from in­ter­na­tional en­vi­ron­ment agen­cies to block Tokyo from dump­ing the wa­ter into the ocean.

“The for­eign min­istry and other rel­e­vant govern­ment au­thor­i­ties con­tinue re­view­ing mea­sures to stop Tokyo from con­duct­ing such an en­vi­ron­men­tally-un­friendly ac­tion,” a min­istry of­fi­cial said Tues­day.

“The IAEA is one of the most se­nior in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions in han­dling the is­sue. But we plan to team up with en­vi­ron­ment-re­lated or­ga­ni­za­tions to get an in­ter­na­tional con­sen­sus against Ja­pan’s move,” the of­fi­cial said. “For in­stance, Green­peace is also stand­ing at the fore­front to op­pose the plan by tak­ing is­sue with the mat­ter on the in­ter­na­tional stage.”

On Mon­day, First Vice Science and ICT Min­is­ter Moon Mi-ok ex­pressed con­cern over the plan at the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency (IAEA) Gen­eral Con­fer­ence in Vi­enna, Aus­tria.

She urged the agency to con­duct an in­spec­tion of the site of the nu­clear ac­ci­dent, while call­ing on Ja­pan to adopt trans­par­ent and prac­ti­cal ac­tions to guar­an­tee the safety of the en­vi­ron­ment.

Ex­perts said South Korea should not re­act emo­tion­ally to po­lit­i­cal rhetoric from Ja­pan in or­der to gar­ner sym­pa­thy from in­ter­na­tional so­ci­ety.

“The re­marks by the South Korean of­fi­cial at the IAEA meet­ing can be seen as part of po­lit­i­cal pres­sure against Ja­pan at a time when both coun­tries have been en­gaged in a months-long trade feud trig­gered by his­tor­i­cal dis­putes,” Park Won-gon, a pro­fes­sor of in­ter­na­tional pol­i­tics at Han­dong Global Univer­sity, said.

“If Seoul con­tin­ues in­ten­si­fy­ing such an in­ter­na­tional cam­paign, the chances are that Ja­pan’s na­tional sen­ti­ment re­gard­ing South Korea will get worse,” he said. The con­tin­u­ous con­flicts with Ja­pan do no good for both coun­tries amid their wors­en­ing bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, ac­cord­ing to the pro­fes­sor.

To in­ten­sify the level of pres­sure against Ja­pan, he rec­om­mended seek­ing al­liances with other coun­tries to protest the dis­posal plan for the con­tam­i­nated wa­ter.


A group of ac­tiv­i­ties stage a protest against Ja­pan’s plan to dump con­tam­i­nated wa­ter into the Pa­cific Ocean in front of the for­mer Ja­pa­nese em­bassy in Seoul, on Aug. 16.

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