By Katya Golubkova
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has explained the release of treated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant to the sea to the G20 leaders who gathered in New Delhi for a two-day summit on Saturday, an official with Japan’s foreign ministry said.
Japan started releasing treated radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean last month, and faced harsh criticism from China which immediately banned all seafood imports from Japan.
Japan says the water release is safe, noting that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has also concluded that the impact it would have on people and the environment was “negligible.”
At a G20 session on Saturday, Kishida addressed leaders of the Group of 20, including U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, French President Emmanuel Macron and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman, on issues ranging from the global economy to food security and the water release.
“Prime Minister Kishida explained that the data monitored since last month’s (water) discharge has been made public in a prompt and highly transparent manner. And that no problem has arisen from a scientific standpoint,” Hikariko Ono, press secretary at Japan’s foreign ministry, told reporters.
This week, Japan has brought China’s decision to ban Japanese seafood imports to the World Trade Organization, also promising to explain the safety of the released water at diplomatic forums.
“Unfortunately, some countries have been taking uncommon actions such as suspending all imports of Japanese marine food products in response to the recent (water) discharge into the sea,” Ono said without naming any countries.
This week, Kishida has explained Japan’s stance on the release of the treated radioactive water to Chinese Premier Li Qiang on the sidelines of a regional meeting in Indonesia.
“Japan will continue to work closely with the IAEA and to provide explanations to the international community based on scientific evidence in good faith and in a highly transparent manner,” Ono said, referring to Kishida’s remarks at the G20.
The Fukushima water release was among topics at Kishida’s meetings with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit, Japan foreign ministry said in separate statements.
(Reporting by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)