US Ambassador to Japan to eat seafood from Fukushima amid radioactive water release row

Japan’s decision to release more than 1 million metric tons of radioactive water from Fukushima nuclear plant has garnered severe criticism prompting concern over safety and contamination. Japan had repeatedly reiterated that the water has been treated so that it does not harm the environment. 

Fukushima nuclear plant bears testimony to one of the most catastrophic nuclear meltdowns in history. Following a major earthquake, a 15-metre tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, causing a nuclear accident on 11 March 2011.

Amid growing concern, US ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, has said that he would publicly eat seafood from Fukushima to demonstrate his confidence in its safety, reported Fortune

To assuage contamination concern over the Japan’s decision and to restore faith in Japan’s sea-food Emanuel in an interview with Kyodo News said that he would publicly consume fish from the Fukushima water body. 

Emanuel has said that he is going to visit Fukushima on 31 August to “physically show support and then to express confidence in the process that Japan has methodically pursued.” as quoted by Fortune

According to Kyodo News, Emanuel would visit a seafood market, and eat fish caught in the area at a restaurant, to show support for Japan’s government’s decision at a time when protesters have registered push back, flagging the contamination of sea food. 

Emanuel noted that this would not ‘show solidarity’ but help people gain trust in the ‘safety’ of the food. 

Notably, Japan is one of the world’s biggest consumers of seafood, with half its seafood demand having to be met by imports and around 80% of its domestically produced seafood staying on its own shores.

Notably, the UN has backed Japan’s assessment of the situation, with the organization’s nuclear regulator saying it is safe to release the water, and that doing so will have a negligible impact on environmental health.

Japan’s decision have faced opposition from within and without. Japanese locals have voiced concern and staged protests, further anti-nuclear activists from South Korea’s Seoul have also protested the decision. 

Greenpeace slammed the move as “deliberate pollution,” and said it was “outraged” by the release of the water.

Fukushima nuclear plant water release

According to Japan officials the radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant has been treated via a filtering process, leaving it contaminated with just one radioactive isotope, tritium. Tritium cannot be removed, so it has been diluted instead—which Tokyo has insisted means it will be safe to release.

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Updated: 25 Aug 2023, 09:30 PM IST

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