Japan asks China to urge its citizens to stop harassment after the start of sewage release in Fukushima

Tokyo (AFP) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida asked China on Monday to urge its citizens to stop acts of harassment, including disturbing statements and stone-throwing at Japanese diplomatic facilities and schools, in response to Japan’s release of treated radioactive sewage from damaged Fukushima. nuclear power station.

“I have to say it’s unfortunate,” Kishida said.

He said that Vice Foreign Minister Masataka Okano summoned Chinese Ambassador Wu Jianghao to ask the Chinese people to act calmly and responsibly.

The release of treated sewage into the ocean, which began on Thursday and is expected to continue for decades, has met with fierce opposition from fishing groups and neighboring countries. In response, China immediately banned all imports of Japanese seafood. And in South Korea, thousands of people joined rallies over the weekend to denounce their dismissals.

Kishida said acts of harassment, including harassing phone calls and stone-throwing, targeted Japan’s embassy, ​​consulates and Japanese schools in China, while the Chinese government did not respond to Japan’s requests for a joint scientific discussion to release the experts. He said many countries view the Japanese plan as scientific and transparent.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK said thousands of phone calls from China targeted the offices of the Fukushima government and the operator of the nuclear plant. She added that many of the callers shouted in Chinese, and some shouted “stupid” and other obscene words.

The Japanese government and the company operating the plant say the radioactive treated wastewater that has accumulated since the March 2011 accident at the nuclear plant, now totaling 134 million tons and stored in about 1,000 tanks, takes up a large portion of the plant’s space and must be removed to free it. Space to build facilities to clean up the plant and decommission it, which is also expected to take decades.

Kishida on Monday also pledged to do his best to protect Japan’s fisheries industry from the impact of China’s import ban, and said he would announce the support measures later this week.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry issued a travel advisory on Sunday urging Japanese citizens to be more careful in China, citing escalating harassment and violent protests, and not to speak loudly in Japanese to avoid attention.

At home, the release plan has faced fierce opposition from Japanese fishing groups who fear it will further damage the reputation of seafood from the Fukushima region. The groups are still struggling to repair the damage caused to their businesses due to the collapse of three reactors at the power plant due to the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

All seawater and fish sample data since release have been well below established safety limits.

Economy and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura visited Fukushima on Monday to help with damage control. Join officials from a supermarket chain and sample locally caught oysters and flounder.

“I hope to promote the delicious seafood of Fukushima to as many people as possible inside and outside Japan,” said Nishimura. “While safely implementing the release, we will be transparent in disclosing all data. This is the best way to fight reputational damage.”

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