Japan Rejects China’s Demands for “Compensation” for Fukushima’s Contaminated Waters

The operation of discharging partially decontaminated water will have to continue for more than 30 years

The tug-of-war between China and Japan over the discharge of wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean continues. According to Japan’s Kyodo news agency, citing “well-informed diplomatic sources,” Tokyo categorically rejected China’s demands “to establish a system of compensation and reimbursement for any economic damage resulting from the release of treated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea.”

According to the agency, China’s demands “were conveyed several times last year through diplomatic channels.” Tokyo justified the refusal on the grounds that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had “declared the dumping to be an operation that complies with international safety requirements.”

In addition to compensation, Beijing offered Japan to sign “an international independent monitoring agreement.” Tokyo responded that “monitoring should be done exclusively through the IAEA.”

Following the discharges, China and Russia have banned imports of Japanese seafood since August 2023. This caused enormous financial damage to Japanese fishing cooperatives. As the Japanese press recalls, “in November, at a meeting in San Francisco, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to resolve the issue through consultation and dialog, in a constructive manner.” But the bilateral meeting stalled in January 2024. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), operator of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, has provided information on the anticipated safety of the operation, which is expected to last more than 30 years. During this period, more than 1.25 million tons of water, still containing significant amounts of radioactive tritium, should be released into the Pacific Ocean.