Fukushima: fishermen file suit against the Japanese state to stop the release of water from the nuclear power plant into the sea

Around a hundred fishermen and residents of the Fukushima department (north-eastern Japan) will file a complaint this week against the Japanese state to try to stop the discharge into the sea of ​​water from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

Fukushima: fishermen file suit against the Japanese state to stop the release of water from the nuclear power plant into the sea

Around a hundred fishermen and residents of the Fukushima department (north-eastern Japan) will file a complaint this week against the Japanese state to try to stop the discharge into the sea of ​​water from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. .

Their complaint will be filed Friday at the Fukushima Court of First Instance, Sugie Tanji, a member of the collective behind the action, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Monday, September 4.

The government's choice is "bad policy because it ignores the opposition not only from the Fukushima Fishermen's Cooperative, but also from cooperatives throughout the country," she said. “Discharge into the ocean can never be tolerated because it aggravates the suffering of the victims of the nuclear accident” in Fukushima on March 11, 2011, following a tsunami, added Ms. Tanji.

Imports suspended

Many Japanese fishermen feared to suffer the consequences of the discharge into the Pacific Ocean of water from Fukushima, coming from rainwater, groundwater and injections necessary to cool its reactors, badly damaged in 2011.

Their fears have already been verified: as soon as the rejection began in late August, China and Hong Kong suspended all imports of Japanese seafood products, even though these two markets together accounted for 42% of Japanese sector exports. in 2022.

Tokyo has asked China to lift its trade restrictions, arguing that the disposal at sea had been validated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and that guarantees had been taken that the process was safe for the world. environment and human health.

Fukushima water has been decontaminated of most of its radioactive substances beforehand, with the exception, however, of tritium, which is only harmful in high concentrated doses according to experts. This "tritiated" water is then diluted with seawater before being discharged into the ocean, so that its level of radioactivity does not exceed the ceiling of 1,500 becquerels per liter: a level 40 times lower than the Japanese standard for this type of operation, which is otherwise commonly practiced by the nuclear industry worldwide.

1.3 million cubic meters of tritiated water discharged into the sea

In total, Japan plans to evacuate more than 1.3 million cubic meters of tritiated water from Fukushima into the sea, in an extremely gradual manner – until the early 2050s, according to the current timetable.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Monday evening an increase in public aid planned to support Japanese fishermen in the crisis. The total of this aid will increase to more than 100 billion yen (630 million euros), compared to 80 billion yen previously. This effort reflects the government's "determination" to "protect" the fishing industry, Mr. Kishida said.

Business "is pretty tough" right now, Yoshinobu Yoshihashi, a seafood wholesaler in Tokyo, told AFP over the weekend. Its shipments to other Asian countries of products including oysters, sea urchins and long beryx have fallen "by more than half" since the start of the crisis, he added.