The environment ministers of Japan, China and South Korea adopted a joint statement pledging cooperation on issues such as climate change and marine environment conservation.
The Tripartite Environment Ministers’ Meeting opened on Friday in Nagoya, Japan.
At the start of Saturday’s plenary session, Japan’s Environment Minister Shintaro Ito emphasized the safety of continuing to release treated and diluted water into the ocean from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Ito said detailed analysis of the water samples showed that the tritium concentration was much lower than the standards for drinking water set by the World Health Organization.
He added that Japan had confirmed that the release had no harmful effects on humans or the environment.
China’s Ecology and Environment Minister Huang Runqiu called for thorough consultations with other stakeholders, including neighboring countries, regarding the release, as it would affect the marine environment and people’s health.
In a joint statement, Ministers confirmed that we face unprecedented global crises, including climate change and biodiversity loss.
The two countries agreed to cooperate on global issues and protect the marine environment within a framework designed to address issues in partnership with relevant countries.
Ministers also agreed to foster trilateral cooperation in the lead-up to major environmental conferences, including the upcoming United Nations climate change conference, COP28.
After the plenary session, Mr. Ito said that he was able to directly exchange frank opinions with the Chinese and South Korean ministers, and that the meeting was a great success.
He said he briefed ministers on Japan’s commitment to providing information to the international community in a transparent manner.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered a triple meltdown in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The water used to cool molten fuel at the plant mixes with rain and groundwater.
The collected water is treated to remove most of the radioactive material, but it still contains tritium. Before releasing the treated water into the ocean, power plant operators dilute it to reduce tritium levels to about one-seventh of the World Health Organization’s drinking water guidelines.