Duncan Currie & Shaun Burnie: Millions of tons of highly contaminated water from Fukushima Daiichi being discharged into the Pacific Ocean not only poses a threat to humans and the environment, but also raises questions on how the decision by the Japanese government relates to international law. What we conclude is that the decision by the Japanese government to treat and then release radioactive water at Fukushima into the ocean would pose a direct threat to the marine environment, including that of the jurisdictional waters of the Korean peninsula. As such, Japan would be in breach of its obligations as defined under international environmental law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Korea Times 9th March 2020 read more »
Nine years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011, and the ensuing accident at the TEPCO Daiichi nuclear power plant. The impacts of this nuclear accident continue to this day. Radiation contaminated a large area and has had serious impacts on the environment and the livelihoods that so much depended on the natural environment. The nuclear accident robbed people in the region of many things: livelihoods, a purpose in life, community, precious time with friends and neighbours, and a peaceful daily life. The very foundations of their lives were taken away. “Nuclear power robbed us of everything. We still can’t go into the forests. Families with children used to go into the forest to gather wild plants and teach about nature. That was a common practice, taken for granted. But today we can’t do any of that.” Those are the words of Kenichi Hasegawa, a former dairy farmer who is now growing buckwheat (soba). Meanwhile, in the midst of much fanfare about reconstruction efforts and the Olympics, the real status of radioactive contamination and damage from the disaster is being kept out of view, and an atmosphere has been created where people cannot talk about health impacts and other concerns. “In Fukushima today, the Olympics are being exploited to the maximum in an effort to make it difficult to see the issues facing evacuees from damage from the accident, which continue to this day,” says Ruiko Muto, a resident of Miharu Town.
FoE Japan 11th March 2020 read more »
Nine years on, state of the clean-up at Fukushima’s nuclear plant. AFP was granted rare access to reactor control rooms and other parts of the plant for an update in the months before the Tokyo Olympics. The molten fuel remains in the bottom of the reactors, so far only accessed by robots. The extremely delicate task of removing it will not be tested at full-scale until 2021, with the end of the process not expected before 2040 or 2050 at best.
Raw Story 9th March 2020 read more »
The coronavirus outbreak has forced Japan to scale down events marking nine years since a powerful earthquake and tsunami killed more than 18,000 people along its north-east coast. An annual public service in Tokyo to remember the victims of the March 2011 disaster was among a growing number of events called off, one day after the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said sports, cultural and other large gatherings must be postponed for another 10 days in an attempt to contain the spread. The main memorial service, at the capital’s National Theatre, is usually attended by members of the imperial family, politicians and the relatives of people who died.
Guardian 11th March 2020 read more »
It is expected Japan’s government will eventually order authorities to release it into the ocean. Work to deal with contaminated water at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant continues as the Olympic Games approach. Inside a giant decontamination facility at the destroyed plant, workers in hazmat suits monitor radioactive water pumped from three damaged reactors. The decontamination process is a key element of a contentious debate over what should be done with the nearly 1.2 million tons of still-radioactive water being closely watched by governments and organisations around the world ahead of this summer’s Tokyo Olympics. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, says it needs to free up space as work to decommission the damaged reactors approaches a critical phase. It is widely expected that Tepco will gradually release the water into the nearby ocean following a government decision allowing it to do so.
LBC News 10th March 2020 read more »