Pacific islands’ leaders buck Japan’s plan to dump nuke waste into Pacific ocean

By Jonathan Perez

Ten years later, the specter of the infamous Fukushima disaster continues to haunt Japan and the rest of its neighbors, for that matter.

Pacific island nations and neighboring countries howl in protest over Japan’s April announcement of its plans to dump 1.2 million tons of nuclear wastewater into the sea. This plan, according to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, was an “unavoidable and realistic option” that would help the recovery of the communities in Fukushima.

The wastewater, which Japanese officials claim would be diluted first to reach safety levels, is from the Fukushima nuclear power plant that was severely damaged and became inoperable after a 9.0 magnitude quake jolted the region more than a decade ago. The earthquake triggered a deadly tsunami that further devastated the coastal area of northeastern Honshu.

The fisherfolk of Fukushima, neighboring countries like China, South Korea, and Taiwan, and the leaders of island nations in the Pacific have opposed the decision, warning of its impact on the region’s fishing industry that was crippled after the series of disasters that took place on March 11, 2011.

Tokyo Electric Power, which operated the plant before the disaster, and Japanese officials said there is no way to remove the radioactive material tritium from the water and is not harmful when released in small amounts. They also said that other radionuclides can be reduced to levels allowed for release that would not cause any harm.

The Japanese government is looking to b