The Korea Herald


Japan to start Fukushima water release

By Choi Si-young

Published : Aug. 7, 2023 - 15:28

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The South Korean (right) and Japanese flags. (123rf) The South Korean (right) and Japanese flags. (123rf)

Japan plans to release treated radioactive wastewater from its destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean late this month, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun said Monday, citing unnamed government officials.

The discharge will take place shortly after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida holds three-way talks with his South Korean and US counterparts at Camp David on Aug. 18, a meeting US President Joe Biden will host for the first time, according to the newspaper.

“Prime Minister Kishida will decide on a specific date for the release when he returns home on Aug. 20,” the newspaper said, citing a senior government official who said the government would “avoid pushing the plan into September.”

Last month, Japan’s nuclear regulator approved a plan by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company to begin the process. The International Atomic Energy Agency says the water is safe, but some in neighboring countries like South Korea and China have complained of health risks.

Meanwhile, Seoul and Tokyo held working-level talks discussing a follow-up on their two leaders’ agreement last month, when President Yoon Suk Yeol asked Kishida to let Korean experts in on the release plans. Yoon also asked for real-time sharing of information about wastewater radiation levels and suspension if they are too high.

Yoon says the Korean government respects the IAEA’s safety assessment on Japan’s discharge plans.