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Japan assures diplomats tainted Fukushima water is safe

Japan plans to release contaminated water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. File Photo by Kimimasa Mayama/EPA-EFE
Japan plans to release contaminated water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. File Photo by Kimimasa Mayama/EPA-EFE

Feb. 3 (UPI) -- The Japanese government said Monday the planned release of tainted water from Fukushima would have no impact on oceans.

During an information session for foreign embassy officials in Tokyo, the Japanese foreign ministry sent signals of reassurance regarding a plan to release tritium-tainted water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the Mainichi Shimbun and Kyodo News reported.

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A total of 28 diplomats representing 23 countries were in attendance, according to reports.

The water comes from Fukushima, where 170 tons of water is contaminated every day at the plant that was severely damaged during a catastrophic earthquake in March 2011. Water has been poured to cool the melted fuel, according to Kyodo.

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Japan has been purifying the contaminated water using an advanced liquid processing system, or ALPS. The process does not remove tritium and leaves traces of radioactive elements.

Tokyo has defended its plan to release the water, but neighboring countries, including South Korea, are opposed to the measure.

On Monday, officials from Japan's ministry of economy, trade and industry said they do not think there would be an impact on surrounding countries.

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Japanese fishermen also oppose the measure. Releasing the water into the ocean could affect sales of local seafood, they say.

Japan is planning to release the tritium-tainted water at a time when it is taking stricter measures against travelers from China.

Jiji Press reported Monday Japan turned away five foreign nationals originating from Hubei Province following new restrictions at the border.

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Foreigners who have stayed in the Chinese province in the past 14 days or who hold passports issued in the province are banned from entry, according to the report.

Japan has confirmed 20 coronavirus cases since the outbreak in China in December. Japanese airports have built new quarantine stations exclusively for travelers from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, according to local press reports.

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