Japan asks China to stop citizens making abusive calls
Japan has formally raised concerns with the Chinese government over an influx of offensive phone calls targeting businesses and institutions regarding the release of contaminated water from the Fukushima plant. These calls originate from phone numbers with Chinese dialing codes.
A restaurant chain in Fukushima has reported receiving over 1,000 of these calls. Simultaneously, Tokyo has reported that seawater around the nuclear facility shows no detectable radioactivity levels.
The surge in calls began after the contaminated water release from Fukushima and has targeted government offices, educational institutions, and even an aquarium.
The callers speak in Chinese, Japanese, and English, frequently resorting to abusive language as they express their opposition to Japan’s decision.
China has characterized the water discharge as an “extremely selfish and irresponsible action” and announced a ban on Japanese seafood imports on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Tokyo is hoping regular radiation testing in the waters near the plant will allay concerns from neighboring countries and fishing groups.
Weekly test results will be published for the next three months.
More than a million tonnes of water stored at the nuclear plant will be discharged over the next 30 years.
It has been accumulating since 2011 when the plant was badly damaged by a tsunami.
Japan says the water is safe, and the UN’s nuclear watchdog has approved the plan, but critics say the release should be halted.
The water is filtered to remove most radioactive elements and then diluted to reduce levels of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that is difficult to separate from water.
The Environment Ministry said samples from 11 locations near the plant showed tritium levels below 7-8 becquerels per liter, the lower limit of detection.
The water “would have no adverse impact on human health and the environment”, it added.
There has also been opposition to the release of water in South Korea, and on Thursday protesters in the capital, Seoul attempted to storm the Japanese embassy.
On Sunday, South Korea said it had sent nuclear experts to Fukushima to monitor the discharge process.