Japan has expressed its disappointment on Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare’s statement at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last week against the discharge of the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) treated water.

Japan’s Ambassador in Honiara, Miwa Yoshiaski said they were disappointed by the statement because they had explained their position to him many times and he had never expressed any strong statements to them as he did at the UNGA.

He made reference to his meeting with Sogavare on 15 February and that with the former foreign minister of Japan on 18 March in Honiara.

He said at the meetings they explained very carefully, factual and precise information on the issue.

“In the bilateral framework we had never had any strong messages from Solomon Islands Government,” the ambassador said that whilst referring tough statement by Sogavare at the UN.

He added that they were shocked to learn of what Sogavare said at the UNGA.

In his statement, Sogavare said Solomon Islands stands with like-minded Pacific islanders and is appalled by Japan’s decision to discharge over a million tonnes of treated nuclear wastewater into the ocean.

“We note IAEA’s assessment report is inconclusive and that the scientific data shared remains inadequate, incomplete and biased.

These concerns were ignored. If this nuclear waste water is safe it should be stored in Japan. The fact that is dumped into the ocean shows that it is not safe,” Sogavare told the UNGA.
But Ambassador Miwa admitted that it was a strong statement by Sogavare with the intention for the media in Japan and other parts of the world.

In a statement issued by Japan to rebut Sogavare soon after his statement, Tokyo expressed concern on the use of wrong terms by the prime minister.

It stated that the government of Japan has never discharged and will never discharge “nuclear waste water” that exceeds regulatory standards into the sea as mentioned by Solomon Islands (Sogavare).

It said the water being discharged is water that is further diluted from ALPS treated water which has been sufficiently purified until the concentration of radioactive materials other than tritium is far below the concentration level regulatory standard.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Miwa said in their meetings in Honiara they had explained fully to the PM.

“We were never told that they were appalled by our decision. We never explained to the PM that the IAEA report was inconclusive, the scientific data shared remained inadequate, incomplete and biased,” he said.

Miwa said they had also handed over a letter from their Prime Minister to Sogavare during one of their meetings.

The Ambassador recalled that in the bilateral framework “we had never had any strong message from the Solomon Islands Government.”

He added that the explanation Japan had from Solomon Islands was the government’s basic stance was based on science and solidarity at the Pacific level.

However, the report from Pacific Islands Forum scientists has yet to be released.

The Ambassador said he’s ready to visit the Prime Minister and to discuss with him on bilateral level at anytime.

“I am ready to visit his office again at anytime. Even at late night, Saturday, Sunday, Christmas or anytime I can go,” said the Ambassador.

“We can express very frankly as PM Sogavare expressed his opinion in his statement. We have to be frank and honest we also of the same opinion but we want to talk to this issue bilaterally,” he told journalists in Honiara.