A top-ranking official at the Japanese Embassy in South Korea on Friday mentioned Japan’s plan to release contaminated water that was used to cool the the first nuclear power plant in Fukushima in an interview with South Korean journalists, saying, “It is too early to affirm the plan but it may be specified within this year. We expect to release the water around summer 2022.” “The levels of radioactive substances at the time of release will meet regulatory standards,” he said.
The remarks seemingly intend to bring the issue to the surface with the aim of alleviating a backlash from South Korea. If Tokyo makes an official announcement to release contaminated water, it will serve as the first trigger for dispute between the two neighboring nations since the inauguration of the Suga administration.
Saying that the decision on the issue may not be put off indefinitely, the high-ranking official expected Tokyo to determine the timing of releasing the used cooling water before the opening of next year's Tokyo Olympic Games at the latest. “In 2022, the site around the Fukushima power plants will be filled up with storage tanks where contaminated water is kept. Thus, there will be no space for extra tanks,” he said.
Regarding the South Korean government’s concerns about the release of contaminated water, the official replied that Japan has monitoring measures in place while promising to disclose all relevant information. However, he also remarked that the decision per se is within the domain of sovereignty, making it clear that Japan has no intention of discussing the issue. In response, the South Korean Foreign Affairs Ministry stated that it will demand that Japan should keep related information open and accessible at all times.
Gi-Jae Han firstname.lastname@example.org