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South Korea-U.S. ties flare over ‘Fukushima’



South Korea said it had informed U.S. climate envoy John Kerry visiting Seoul of its concern over Japan’s decision to discharge contaminated water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, but Kerry stressed Washington’s confidence in the transparency of the process.

World-Asia and Pacific


The comments came to Seoul, Saturday, to discuss international efforts to address global warming, the tour included stops in China, before the summit virtual convened by President Joe Biden with world leaders on climate change on 22 and 23 April.


Seoul said its foreign minister, Chung Eui-yong, sought to rally support for his country’s protest against the Fukushima plan, at a dinner meeting with Kerry.


Under the plan, more than one million tons of water will be discharged from the plant, which was destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, into the near sea off the east coast of Japan.


Seoul strongly criticized the decision and the Foreign Ministry summoned the Japanese ambassador, and President Moon Jae-In ordered officials to examine the possibility of filing a petition with an international court.


Conflict of positions


“Minister Chung communicated the serious concerns of our government and people about Japan’s decision, and asked the US side to pay attention and cooperate so that Japan can provide information in a more transparent way,”the South Korean Foreign Ministry said.


But Kerry said at a media roundtable Sunday that ” Tokyo has taken the decision in a transparent way, and will continue to follow the necessary procedures.”


“The United States is confident that the government of Japan is in very full consultation with the IAEA,”he added. “The IAEA has set up a very rigorous process, and I know that Japan has studied all the options and implications, and has been very transparent about the decision and the process,”he continued.


Kerry said Washington would ” closely monitor Japan’s implementation of the plan, like all countries, to make sure there is no threat to public health.”



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