South Korean lawmakers protest Japan's move to dump nuclear-contaminated water

Members of South Korea's National Assembly on Wednesday staged protest in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul against Japan's decision to dump nuclear contaminated wastewater into the sea.

The lawmakers, all from the South Korean major opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) had a meeting with Daisuke Namioka, a minister at the Japanese Embassy, to voice their anger and objection.

The National Assembly members later told the press that with the safety of people in Japan and neighboring countries at stake, Japan should withdraw its plan to discharge the radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant damaged in an earthquake in 2011.

"We demand that not only South Korea, but also other neighboring countries can directly participate in the safety check process [of the nuclear contaminated wastewater]. Japan should withdraw its plan to discharge the contaminated wastewater into sea until the neighboring countries express their consent clearly," said Yang Yi Won-young, member of the National Assembly from the Democratic Party.

The lawmakers also said that the two countries should pause discussions on exporting fishing products until their safety is confirmed and the radioactive wastewater disposal details are provided for supervision.

The National Assembly members have planned a travel to Fukushima Prefecture starting on Thursday.

In 2011, following a massive earthquake off Japan's coast, three of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station melted down after a 15-meter-high tsunami smashed into the shore-side facility.

The tainted water being stored in tanks at the plant is expected to soon reach capacity, and the lengthy process of dumping the radioactive water into the ocean is projected to take several decades.

Japan decided in April 2021 to start dumping the about 1.25 million tons of nuclear wastewater into the ocean spanning 30 years from 2023.

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