Japan Plans to Dump 1.2 Million Tons of Contaminated Fukushima Wastewater Into Pacific Ocean

Greenpeace said Japan’s plan is a violation of international maritime law that “completely disregards the human rights and interests of the people in Fukushima, wider Japan and the Asia-Pacific region.”

In a decision that sparked condemnation from environmental advocates, fisherfolk and neighboring countries, Japan announced Tuesday a plan to dump over 1.2 million tons of stored contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.

The decision made by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Cabinet gives Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) the green light to release Fukushima’s wastewater into the sea just over a decade after one of the worst nuclear disasters in history — discharges won’t begin for two years, as TEPCO prepares for a process that is expected to take decades.

Greenpeace said in a statement that the decision, which has long been contemplated but delayed due to strong public opposition, is a violation of international maritime law that “completely disregards the human rights and interests of the people in Fukushima, wider Japan and the Asia-Pacific region.”

“The Japanese government has once again failed the people of Fukushima,” said Kazue Suzuki, climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Japan. “The government has taken the wholly unjustified decision to deliberately contaminate the Pacific Ocean with radioactive wastes.”

“The Cabinet’s decision failed to protect the environment and neglected the large-scale opposition and concerns of the local Fukushima residents, as well as the neighboring citizens around Japan,” Suzuki added. “Greenpeace stands with the people of Fukushima, including fishing communities, in their efforts to stop these plans.”