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China backs South Korea's criticism of Fukushima water dump

China has protested a Japanese decision to release treated radioactive water into the ocean from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
China has protested a Japanese decision to release treated radioactive water into the ocean from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

May 17 (UPI) -- China expressed support for a South Korean decision to raise concerns about Japan's resolve to dump treated radioactive water with the international community.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Monday at a regular press briefing that China "supports" South Korea's actions amid the controversy. Seoul had sent a letter to the secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization, stating Japan was acting "unilaterally" and posing significant danger to its neighbors.

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Zhao also described Japanese policy as "unilateral" and a cause for "strong concern."

"Regrettably, the Japanese government has turned a deaf ear to the protests and appeals from governments, international organizations, environmental groups and people from all over the world," the Chinese spokesman said. "It has yet to respond directly to the grave concern of the international community."

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Zhao also raised concerns about the environment.

"Japan's attempt to dump the nuclear contaminated water into the sea will imperil the global marine ecology and the lives and health of people all over the world. This decision by Japan is neither transparent nor responsible," the Chinese diplomat said.

"What Japan has gained is only self-interest, and what it will leave to the international community and future generations will be endless troubles."

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Last month Japan disclosed plans to eventually release an estimated 1.3 million tons of treated wastewater from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Any water released from the plant would be treated and diluted by Tokyo Electric Power before it is pumped out of the site in about two years.

The disaster brought together citizens from across Japan who took part in clean up efforts, but some participants have said they developed disease in the aftermath.

A 63-year-old man who removed debris at Fukushima claimed in a lawsuit that he developed multiple cancers after working at the site. He is seeking about $584,000 in damages from TEPCO, Kyodo News reported Thursday.

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Sapporo District Court dismissed the suit last week, according to the report.

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