Former Fiji Attorney-General and Minister for Climate Change Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says our region is scarred by past betrayals, where we were misled and lied to about nuclear testing and its consequences.

While criticising the Fiji Government’s intentions by allowing Japan to dump its nuclear waste into the Pacific Ocean without any strong assurances for Pacific people’s well being and advancement, Sayed-Khaiyum said the Coalition Government has failed to look after the welfare of future generation.

He said that the former FijiFirst Government shared a deep scepticism of Japan’s disposal plan when it was first proposed.

“While we were presented compelling evidence from Japan that indicated the safety of the proposal, the real issue – then and now –– is trust.”

He said that it is dismissive, dangerous and insulting that the Prime Minister intends to pit our Pacific champions against the broader scientific community.

Sayed-Khaiyum said for too long, Pacific people have been an audience to scientific findings instead of the authors.

“Real leadership takes real commitment. It’s not about showing up at events, drinking cocktails, taking photos and globe-trotting. It’s about giving voice to the voiceless, ensuring that our voices are actually heard, and having a vision for a better future.”

“Fiji should be demanding support from Japan that helps our people stand side by side with scientists, understanding and critiquing evidence first-hand. Because any country that asks us to “trust the science” should first invest in future Pacific oceanographers, scientists, and environmentalists — voices that are globally informed yet deeply rooted in our unique heritage.”

Sayed-Khaiyum said given that we don’t have the tools to verify that our ocean is unharmed, Fiji and other Pacific Island Countries should be provided with the instruments and resources to monitor our waters for ourselves.

He said to all of our Pacific advocates: “Your passion is invaluable. The current Fijian government should never have accepted the dumping of nuclear wastewater into our precious Pacific without assurances that allow us to assess the impact for ourselves.”

“For a nation that once led the world on climate action and ocean preservation – such as through our 30 x 30 commitment – this is a shameful step backwards from our rightful role as the stewards of the Blue Pacific,” Sayed-Khaiyum added.