Micronesia Criticizes Japan's Plan to Release Fukushima Water

Micronesia Criticizes Japan's Plan to Release Fukushima Water
Last updated Sep 27, 2022
Image credit: Reuters [via TRT World]


  • On Thursday, in an address to the UN General Assembly, Micronesia's Pres. David Panuelo criticized Japan's plan to release water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.
  • Panuelo asserted that Micronesia has the "gravest concern" about the proposed water release, saying that "we cannot close our eyes to the unimaginable threats of nuclear contamination, marine pollution, and eventual destruction of the Blue Pacific Continent."
  • In July, Japan's nuclear regulating agency approved a multi-year plan to release water that was contaminated, but since treated, at the crippled Fukushima plant. The water contains the difficult-to-remove element tritium, albeit below an allowed threshold.
  • Water has accumulated at Fukushima Daiichi since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that resulted in a nuclear accident at the power plant. A filtration system removed 62 radionuclides from the water but not the tritium; the planned multi-year water release will be monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  • In addition to Micronesia, regional fishing unions, as well as China, South Korea, and Taiwan, have expressed deep concern with the plan. Japan has pledged to "gain the understanding from the international community" regarding the safety of their plans, as it prepares for the decommissioning of the plant.
  • Micronesia's remarks coincided with a Pacific Islands-focused "Partners in the Blue Pacific" meeting, which included Japan and was hosted by US Sec. of State Antony Blinkin. The meeting focused on regional coordination and counterbalancing China's influence in the region.


Narrative A

Japan's release of tritium into the Pacific would be an irrevocable disaster for both marine ecosystems and humans alike. Micronesia and other members of the "Blue Continent" of Oceania have rightly assessed that short-term costs are being prioritized over long-term and wide-ranging damages. The Pacific must not become a dumping ground for nuclear waste.

Narrative B

Japan's decommissioning of the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is a painstaking and necessary process. The 40-year-long water release is a realistic solution that will be carried out to the highest safety protocols and in partnership with the IAEA. The optics are terrible, but Japan cares deeply about the fishing industry and its neighbors. The safe decommissioning of Fukushima is in the interest of the region and the world.

Articles on this story

Sign up to our newsletter!