Japan complains Fukushima water release created terrifying Chinese Spam monster

Asks Beijing to stop the phone calls harassing civilians, as tests show impact of nuke plant water

Japan last week commenced the release of water from the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant, and the neighbors aren't pleased.

Chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno today complained of harassment from China – incidents characterized by local press as over 200 phone calls to restaurants, hotels, local governments and even schools, all protesting the release of the water.

Japan insists waste water from the stricken power plant is safe, as the concentrations of tritium it contains emit just one seventh of the radiation considered the maximum threshold for safe drinking water. The carbon-14 content of the water is claimed to currently be just two percent of the upper limit allowed by regulations.

Japan's neighbors aren't convinced. China has labelled the release of water a "selfish and highly irresponsible action," banned imports of seafood, and noted concerns voiced by Russia and North Korea, Germany's comments that such releases of water are a last resort, and Thailand's decision to test Japanese seafood rigorously.

Which is what's also happening in Hong Kong, where tests conducted on Monday found nothing to worry about.

South Korea has banned seafood imports from Japan, but president Yoon Suk Yeol reportedly tucked into a seafood lunch on Monday – and intends to do so every day this week, to increase public confidence.

Of course, it's a little absurd that South Korea and Hong Kong are testing seafood that may have been caught before the release of water started on August 24, caught far away, or spent very little time anywhere near Fukushima's discharge.

For what it's worth, Japan's environment ministry publishes maps showing tritium levels found in waters in a 50km radius beyond Fukushima. All are below dangerous levels. And they should remain there, if Japanese authorities' assessments were correct.

Faith in Japanese authorities may be hard to sustain given they allowed construction of a nuclear plant by the sea, in an earthquake-prone country, and gave it redundancy rigs that did not survive a foreseeable combination of events. ®

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