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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 June 10 - 16  > UN human rights experts urge Japan not to make hasty decision on ocean release of radioactive Fukushima water
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2020 June 10 - 16 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

UN human rights experts urge Japan not to make hasty decision on ocean release of radioactive Fukushima water

June 11, 2020

UN human rights experts on June 9 urged the Japanese government to refrain from making a decision to release radioactive-contaminated water stored at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean until the coronavirus crisis comes under control and proper international discussions are held.

This was shown in a news release titled, “Fukushima: Japan must not ignore human rights obligations on nuclear waste disposal – UN experts”, issued by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The experts are four UN special rapporteurs in different fields related to human rights issues, including Baskut Tuncak, Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes. The three others specialize in the right to food, the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and the rights of indigenous peoples. Special rapporteurs are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate and oversee human rights issues from a neutral position independently of interests of any governments or organizations.

The Japanese government is now considering discharging radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima plant into the sea after processing it.

The UN experts said that they are “deeply concerned” by a report that the Japanese government intends to proceed with the ocean-dumping plan without adequate public discussions. They stressed that Japan must not use COVID-19 “as a sleight of hand to distract from decisions” that will affect the human rights of local fishermen and peoples in Japan as well as the rest of the world, including future generations.

Commenting on the news release by the UN OHCHR, secretary general of the international environmental NGO Friends of the Earth Japan Mitsuta Kanna said, “How to dispose of contaminated Fukushima water should be a matter for national discussion, not just restricted to Fukushima. The government should wait until the coronavirus crisis is over and hold broad discussions on the issue more open to the public.”

Past related articles:
> Fukushima residents oppose gov’t plan to discharge radioactive Fukushima water into ocean [April 7, 2020]
> Anti-nuke citizens’ commission proposes ways to dispose of radioactive contaminated water at Fukushima NPP [October 4, 2019]
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