Eric's Insight: Japan’s nuke dumping morally evil, legally irresponsible

By Gateway   |   Sep 14,2023   09:50:26

The Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company have released approximately 7,800 metric tons of nuclear-contaminated water into the Pacific from August 24 to September 11, laying bare the evilness and irresponsibility of a country that should have behaved itself the most in the world.

Location of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant is indicated on a Japanese map. Photo/Nukewatch

Morally speaking, it is widely believed that if one is not informed of the results from certain wrong action in advance, he is not to be blamed, but if one knows well it’s an evil deed and still keeps on doing it, he is beyond understanding and thus unforgivable. Obviously, Japan’s nuke dump belongs to the second case: Knowing about the evil and keeping on doing it.

When World War II was about to draw a close, the US dropped two atomic bombs onto the Japanese locations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and immediately tens of thousands local residents were killed and the survivors suffered from nuclear radiation and its infinite complications. Since then, prevention of nuclear proliferation has been a well-established international norm.

There is no doubt that the Japanese people know better than any other people in the world when it comes to the horrible effect of nuclear fallout, and yet the government insisted on dumping into the ocean its nuclear-contaminated wastewater, showing its evilness in nature.

This can be regarded as an immoral action where salt was added to the sentimental wounds of the Japanese folks. On Sept 8, 151 residents from Fukushima prefecture filed a lawsuit against the Japanese government, seeking to halt the release of nuke water into the ocean. By far, Japan is still the only country in the world that suffered from major nuclear incidents, but it has not learned the due lessons from history.

According to the discharging schedule, Japan will release some 1,300,000 tons of nuclear-contaminated water into the Pacific in the coming 30 years. Having finished its first phase of nuke dumping, Tokyo Electric Power Company will soon kick off its second phase of nuke dumping from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in October.

Arrays of tanks hold nuke water at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Photo/Nukewatch

Article 192 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) stipulates the general obligations of states to protect and preserve the marine environment, while Article 194 says the member states are obligated to exercise "due regard" when disposing of radioactive materials and prevent trans-boundary environmental damage.

When the nuclides of Fukushima power plant are emptied into the Pacific, they will not respect national boundary, just like the Covid viruses or evils from Pandora's box. The radioactive nuclides will not remain in the the Sea of Japan, and they will drift along with the ocean currents into the territorial waters of China and other neighbors. Japan signed the UNCLOS, but failed to fulfill the obligation therein.

Following Japan’s nuke dumping, some Chinese folks in the coastal areas were terrified and rushed to department stores for great amount of salt for fear of marine pollution, while other foodies said they will not dare to taste sea food any more. Obviously, Japan didn’t show enough regard to the public opinion in its neighboring countries.

Japan’s nuke dumping will also pose a serious threat to global biodiversity, given the food chains that link up all the life forms on earth. The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework adopted at COP15 last December sets the target of restoring at least 30 percent of the degraded terrestrial, inland water, and coastal and marine ecosystems by 2030.

But as a member country of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Japan is not legally responsible and doing the opposite: damaging the marine ecosystem with its nuclear-contaminated water. To be fair, Japan polluted the western Pacific more than its neighbors in its industrialization, and now it's time for the country to shoulder its due responsibility for the marine environment and stop nuke dumping.


Protests continue against Japan's plan to release 1.3 million tonnes of nuclear wastewater into ocean. Photo/CGTN

Writing by Wang Shixue; Proofreading by Zu Hongbing

Eric's Insight: Japan’s nuke dumping morally evil, legally irresponsible