S. Korean fishing boats stage rally against Japan's wastewater discharge plan

A group of South Korean fishing boats on Monday staged a maritime parade in waters off the country's western port city of Incheon as part of the efforts in recent months by local fishermen to express their firm opposition to Japan's planned discharge of radioactive wastewater into the ocean.

Over 50 fishing vessels set out from a pier in Incheon on a parallel voyage, sailing around for about one and a half hours with banners flying on the vessels that read "Use the Fukushima contaminated wastewater as drinking water in Japan," and "The ocean is not a dumpster for the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated wastewater."

Amid wide criticism from both home and abroad, the Japanese government has been pushing to dump the nuclear-contaminated wastewater into the ocean this summer from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was hit by a massive earthquake and an ensuing tsunami in March 2011.

Before the demonstration, over 150 fishermen rallied on land against Japan's plan, saying in a statement that they had suffered from a decrease in domestic seafood consumption, caused by the planned discharge of the radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima plant.

"It would be difficult for fishermen to make a living. It's worse than expected. We didn't expect the situation would be this serious, but our people's serious perception of the contaminated wastewater led to the price drop in marine products," Kim Jong-ok, a fisherman in Incheon who participated in the rally, told Xinhua.

Kim stressed that if the wastewater is released into the ocean, it will destroy all ecosystems and eventually damage all humankind for the next decade, and urged the South Korean government to come up with measures, such as subsidies for falling prices in fishery products, to help the local fishermen .

"If (the wastewater) is really safe (as Japan claimed), it can be thrown into dams in Japan ... where fish can be farmed. It will not be late to dump it (the wastewater) into the sea after it is confirmed that the farmed fish in the dams are safe," Kim said.

The fisherman vented his anger at the Japanese government for choosing the cheapest way of dumping the radioactive wastewater into the ocean with no permission from neighboring countries.

Five disposal plans were proposed in 2018 to the Japanese government by the subcommittee on handling the advanced liquid processing system (ALPS) treated water, an advisory body under Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The proposed plans included geosphere injection, underground burial, hydrogen release, vapor release and release into the ocean.

(Cover: South Korean fishing boats stage a maritime parade against Japan's radioactive wastewater discharge plan in Busan, South Korea, July 6, 2023. /CFP)

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency

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