Protecting the Pacific ocean

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The bilateral meeting between the Fijian Government and the Japanese delegation. Picture: FIJIAN GOVERNMENT

The Pacific Collective on Nuclear Issues (the collective) hopes Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Hayashi Yoshimasa will convince his government to reconsider plans to discharge over 12.8 million tonnes of radioactive waste into the Pacific ocean after his official visit to Fiji and Palau.

The collective was endorsed by Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality, Fiji Council of Social Services, Marshall Islands Students Association, Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, Pacific Conference of Churches, Pacific Network on Globalisation and Youngsolwara Pacific.

A statement outlined plans to dump the radioactive waste into the Pacific ocean early next year.

Mr Yoshimasa is in the region to promote a “free and open Indo-Pacific”, aimed at diminishing China’s growing military and economic influence in the region.

“We hope that the leaders and government officials in Fiji and Palau will use the opportunity to reinforce the message to Minister Hayashi that our ocean must not become a free dumping ground for nuclear wastes from the Fukushima nuclear power plant – one of the greatest nuclear disasters of our times,” the statement read.

“The Pacific has suffered the consequences of nuclear testing for generations and people continue to live with the damage done by historical nuclear tests by major powers; the United States, the United Kingdom and France. Therefore, as stated previously, the collective refute the veracity of TEPCO’s Radiological Impact Assessment (RIA) released in November 2021.

“The RIA does not consider the concerns raised by Pacific leaders and other neighbouring governments who oppose the current proposed plan by Japan.

“We believe there is no scenario in which discharging nuclear waste into the Pacific Ocean is justified for the health, wellbeing, and future safety of Pacific peoples and the environment.”

The Japanese embassy in Fiji has yet to respond to this issue.