Fijian Organizations Oppose Japan’s Wastewater Discharge Plan
originally published 17 August, 2023 on TeleSUR
Amid wide criticism, Japan has been pushing to dump the nuclear-contaminated wastewater this summer from the Fukushima power plant.
Fijian politicians and organizations have voiced their concerns about and disapproval of Japan’s intentions to dump more than 1 million metric tons of nuclear-contaminated wastewater into the Pacific Ocean.
Unity Fiji party leader Savenaca Narube told Fiji Times that releasing radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean is a “serious issue” for the small Pacific Islands that “rely so much on the ocean for their survival, let alone livelihoods.”
“The risks are high. The wastewater is not 100 percent safe, otherwise, they would have used it for some useful purposes in Japan,” Narube said, adding that the leaders of the Pacific should have listened to all alternatives before making a collective stance on the matter.
Fiji Council of Social Services Director Vani Catanasiga said the fight was more than just about the physical dumping of wastewater.
“We are fighting a paradigm that sees Pacific islanders as much less deserving of dignity. We are not a dumping ground. The ocean is precious to us as Pacific islanders, as Fijians. We depend on it. We protect it. We are stewards,” Catanasiga noted.
Pacific Network on Globalisation Nuclear Justice Campaigner Epeli Lesuma has also voiced concerns.
“It’s no secret that the Japanese government has aggressively pursued bilateral engagement with Pacific Island countries as well as through the use of Overseas Development Assistance to soften and to fracture regional solidarity against Fukushima,” Lesuma told Fiji Times.
The Alliance for Future Generations (AFG), an organization made up of youth leaders from around Fiji, issued a statement earlier this month saying that Japan’s discharge plan has “far-reaching consequences for the entire Pacific region and beyond.”
This action has the potential to inflict lasting damage to marine ecosystems, threatening the livelihoods of countless communities that depend on the ocean for sustenance and economic well-being.
Any decision in this regard must be based on “rigorous scientific evidence and must prioritize the well-being of both current and future generations.”
The AFG called upon the international community, including Pacific Island nations, to unite in solidarity and demand that Japan seek alternative solutions to handle its nuclear waste responsibly.
Amid wide criticism from both home and abroad, the Japanese government has been pushing to dump the nuclear-contaminated wastewater this summer from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was hit by a massive earthquake and an ensuing tsunami in March 2011.
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