Japan’s plan to release contaminated water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant will be discussed at an inaugural South Korea-Pacific Islands summit later this month, the head of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) has said.
In a recent news conference with South Korean reporters in Suva, the capital of Fiji, PIF Secretary General Henry Puna said the Pacific Island nations want to consider Japan’s release plan “in more detail” and added the issue “will come up” during the summit scheduled to be held in Seoul from 29-30 May.
“We look forward to the discussions on that issue,” Puna said at the conference held on 26 April at the PIF headquarters.
According to Puna, the issue was also discussed with the Seoul government during the fifth South Korea-Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that was held in Busan in October of last year.
President Yoon Suk Yeol will host a summit with leaders from Pacific Island nations later this month to discuss ways to expand cooperation between South Korea and the region.
South Korea plans to dispatch a team of experts to the Fukushima plant later this month to inspect Japan’s water discharge plan and verify whether Tokyo has the water treatment capability it claims to possess.
Puna said a delegation of the Pacific Island nations recently traveled to Japan to speak with Tokyo authorities on the issue.
He pointed out that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida “gave a commitment2 that Tokyo will not consider discharging the water “until all parties are satisfied that the water is safe and will not cause any damage or contamination of the ocean.”
The secretary general stressed that the Pacific has a “long history of nuclear legacy,” noting past damages, such as pollution and health problems, caused by nuclear tests conducted by major powers, such as the United States and France, in the past.
“Our leaders now are very keen to ensure that there is no more contamination of our ocean from nuclear tests or nuclear discharge,” Puna said.
SOURCE: YONHAP NEWS/PACNEWS