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Friday, June 2, 2023

Seoul seeks IMO’s involvement in dispute over Fukushima radioactive water

South Korea has asked the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to explore ways to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog to ensure safety in Japan’s planned release of wastewater.

Moon Seong-hyeok
South Korea’s Oceans and Fisheries Minister, Moon Seong-hyeok

Oceans Minister Moon Seong-hyeok made the request in a letter sent to Lim Ki-tack, secretary general of the UN organisation, calling Tokyo’s decision to discharge the radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean a “unilateral’’ step that could cause “considerable dangers’’ to the ocean.

“I request the IMO, as an international body leading discussions on the marine environment, review ways to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure contaminated water can be disposed of through a method acceptable to the international community.

“The Japanese government’s decision is a unilateral step that came without processes for sufficient consultation and understanding from its closest country, South Korea,’’ Moon wrote in the letter.

Last month, Japan finalised the decision to start discharging the tritium-laced water into the sea in 2023 in what is expected to be a decades long process, in spite of opposition from South Korea and other neighbours.

All storage tanks at the Fukushima plant were expected to be full as early as the fall of 2022.

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