Militant Journalism

Worldwide protests demand Japan stop dumping radioactive waste water from Fukushima power plant disaster

On Aug. 24, Japan started releasing into the ocean 7,800 tons of radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that melted down following an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. This release, the first of some 1 million tons, is expected to last about 17 days. The process of dumping all the water, is slated to take place over the next 30 years.

While the Japanese government claims it is safe to release the radioactive water into the ocean, people around the world are alarmed. From fishermen in Japan to the Chinese government which has banned the import of Japanese seafood in response to the Aug. 24 wastewater release, to recent protests around the world, a global movement is emerging to stop the dumping.

Liberation News attended one such protest in Seattle on Aug. 26.

‘When the ocean is under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!’

In Seattle, several groups came together to hold a rally downtown at Westlake Park, followed by a march to the Japanese Consulate nearby. These included the Seattle Evergreen Coalition, Korea Peace Now-Grassroots Network Pacific North West, the Korean American Political Action Committee, the Korean Progressive Coalition of Seattle and Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. Following each speech, participants chanted, “Stop dumping now!”

At the Japanese Consulate, the rally continued with speeches from SEC’s Sung Park and Tasha Lee Essen, co-coordinator of Korea Peace Now PNW.

Park said, “This message will go out around the world. We are here to stop the Japanese government from discharging radioactive wastewater into the ocean. It hurts everyone, even though they say that some scientists say it is safe, it is just a drop in the bucket or in the ocean. But it is not. The Japanese government knows it very well; there are other options, options that neighboring countries are willing to work with, but they decided not to. … we are here to demand they stop discharging nuclear wastewater into the ocean!”

Essen proclaimed, “I am here because I am a peace activist, an environmental activist. What is happening right how will have terrible impacts on future generations. … If you care about the people of Korea, Asia and the rest of the world, you will speak out against this terrible crime.”

In response to the Japanese government’s claim that the release the wastewater is safe, organizers distributed a statement that reads in part

… several sections of the final report [by the International Atomic Energy Agency], including the first page, makes clear that the IAEA claims no responsibility for the consequences of this … In addition, only samples from three tanks were handed over the IAEA from Japan for the report despite there being over 1,000 such tanks. The final report mentions only one result from the three samples, the other two not being expected until the end of this year.

Protesters also fear that other countries will emulate Japan’s dumping of nuclear waste in the future, leading to even more contamination of the planet’s oceans.

Sung Park of the SEC explained to Liberation News that this protest and others like it in South Korea, Europe and other major cities in the United States is the just the start of a movement to demand:

  1. A stop to the dumping contaminated water from Fukushima into the sea
  2. The storage of the water onshore for at least another 18 years (a total of 30 years after 2011) while seeking alternative methods for more environmentally-friendly disposal and storage,
  3. A monitoring and research system run by independent organizations,
  4. A regular publication of quantitative research results, transparency and education by the media.
Aug. 27, Seattle. Liberation photo

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