Japan will release more than one million tonnes of radioactive water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.
The decision, long-speculated but delayed for years due to safety concerns and protests, came at a meeting of Cabinet ministers who endorsed the ocean release as the best option.
The move is being fiercely opposed by Japan’s neighbours – with China’s foreign ministry calling the plan “extremely irresponsible”.
In a statement on its website, the foreign ministry added that the move will “seriously damage international public health and safety, and the vital interests of people in neighbouring countries”.
China also said Japan should refrain from initiating the discharge until it has consulted and reached agreement with all stakeholder countries and the International Atomic Energy Agency.Advertisement
The spokesman added that China reserves the right to respond further to the release of contaminated water.
South Korea expressed “serious concerns that the decision could bring a direct and indirect impact on the safety of our people and surrounding environment”, adding it would step up its own radiological measuring and monitoring.