April 13 (UPI) -- China slammed Japan for its decision to release radioactive water into the sea, and accused Tokyo of making a unilateral decision that could cause harm to health.
China's foreign ministry said Tuesday in a statement that Japan was acting without concern for neighbors, "despite doubts and opposition from home and abroad."
"Japan has unilaterally decided to release the Fukushima nuclear wastewater into the sea before exhausting all safe ways of disposal and without fully consulting with neighboring countries and the international community," Chinese spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a statement.
"This is highly irresponsible and will severely affect human health and the immediate interests of people in neighboring countries."
Beijing also said carbon-14, a radioactive isotope in the wastewater, could remain "hazardous for thousands of years with the potential to cause genetic damage," citing a study from environmental NGO Greenpeace.
China's opposition comes the same day the International Atomic Energy Agency said it continues to endorse the Japanese government's decision.
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said Tokyo's water disposal method is both "technically feasible and in line with international practice."
Controlled water discharges are common practice among nuclear power plants around the world, the IAEA said.
Late Monday the U.S. Department of State said Japan has been transparent about its decision. Tokyo "appears to have adopted an approach in accordance with globally accepted nuclear safety standards," according to the State Department.
Greenpeace issued a statement on Tuesday "strongly condemning" the Japanese policy.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's decision to release more than 1.23 million tons of radioactive water stored in tanks "completely disregards the human rights and interests of the people in Fukushima, wider Japan and the Asia-Pacific region," the NGO said.
On Monday Chinese state media said China is not ruling out a lawsuit against the Japanese government in coordination with neighboring countries.