Reiwa Shinsengumi Statement: Calling to revoke release of “contaminated water” into the ocean, reopen discussions August 23, 2023

Reiwa Shinsengumi, a national political party of Japan, delivered the statement calling to revoke release of “contaminated water” into the ocean as TEPCO started releasing it from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on 24 August.
Please find the statement below.

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida announced at an August 22 meeting of relevant cabinet ministers that post-treatment contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant would be released into the ocean (dumped) from August 24.

On August 17, just prior to his visit to the United States, Prime Minister Kishida stated, “currently, the specific timing, process and so on have not yet been decided.” Responding to media questions in the United States on August 19, Mr. Kishida then stated that “we are in the final stage of making a judgment as a nation,” suggesting that a decision was close at hand. This is typical behavior of successive Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leaders, and of Prime Minister Kishida, making important decisions in the United States.

At a press conference on August 21 the Prime Minister also avoided clearly stating the date that release into the ocean would begin. Yet in the end, the release had been decided to start on August 24, as already reported at that time.

Less than one week passed between the statement that the process was not finalized, and the announcement of the release start date.

It seems that Japan is being run by frauds, who continue to flee from each situation by using expediency.

It is only natural that fishing groups would oppose this unwise decision. But opposition comes not only from the fishing industry. The Fukushima Roundtable (Fukushima Entaku Kaigi), established by people related to the local Fukushima University, criticizes the insufficient democratic process, stating that “it is unacceptable to force the release of water without a discussion process in which those affected should participate.”

Reports that imply that China is the only country opposed to the project are also wrong. There are persistent voices of opposition from for example the Philippines and from Pacific Island nations. The National Association of Marine Laboratories (NAML), a group of more than 100 marine research institutes in the United States, has also issued a statement of opposition.

Reiwa Shinsengumi has previously expressed its opposition to the release of contaminated water into the ocean through parliamentary questioning, street campaigns, and negotiations with the government, making clear its reasons for opposition.

Once again, calling on the Japanese Government to revoke release of “contaminated water” into the ocean, reopen discussions

The Japanese Government criticizes the term ‘contaminated water’ being used for the water to be dumped into the ocean, which contains radionuclides, calling it a “falsehood not based on facts.”
Nevertheless, we have a rationale to continue to call it ‘contaminated water.’

The government and TEPCO have so far claimed that the water is not ‘contaminated,’ because “all but tritium has been removed to below the standard level.” They even went so far as to create the name ‘tritiated water,’ and advertise as if tritium were the only problem. There is a big lie in the claim that the water is not contaminated because all but tritium has been removed. The most serious is the claim that all “other than” tritium has been almost removed. In fact, this is not the case, and no measurements have been taken to determine the amount of radioactive materials other than tritium.

Further, ‘contaminated water’ which has been in direct contact with molten nuclear fuel is completely different from the wastewater discharged from a nuclear power plant during regular operations.

The contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is assumed to contain as many as 210 types of radioactive materials at the initial stage. The ALPS multi-nuclide removal system can only reduce 62 types of radioactive materials. However, only 30 types are measured to confirm that they are ‘below standard values’ immediately prior to the dumping into the ocean. The remaining more than 100 types of radioactive materials are not measured, based on the assumption that ‘they are only in small amounts anyway.’

The statement that “almost all but tritium has been removed” is a lie. In fact, the reality is just that very little has been measured. To begin with, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) only evaluates the concentration per liter. The concept of total amount is not considered. The Japanese government “doesn’t know” the total amount of cesium and strontium that will be released. It has decided not to consider the total amount of radioactive materials to be released into the ocean – an amount which is virtually unlimited.

What is essentially needed, is a standard that regulates the total amount of radioactive materials, including those other than tritium.

The attitude of imposing a system which allows the release of unlimited amounts as ‘it is diluted, so it is okay’ shows absolutely no sincerity toward science or the local community.

Furthermore, even the data on the radioactive materials being measured is unreliable. TEPCO’s lack of accurate data has been called into question by international scientists. Experts from the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), a group of 16 countries and two regions, have criticized TEPCO for measuring water samples from a limited number of tanks and measuring only a very small variety of radioactive materials.

Namely, they have made the harsh critique that “TEPCO’s knowledge of the source term – that is the specific radionuclide contents of the tanks – is seriously deficient,” and that “TEPCO’s measurement protocol is statistically deficient and biased. The protocol does not even appear to
be designed to provide a statistically reliable estimate of the radionuclide content of the

Reiwa Shinsengumi has repeatedly demanded that the Japanese Government and TEPCO release the details of their correspondence and responses to the points raised by the PIF expert panel members. The government, however, continues to conceal the details, stating that they would like to refrain from giving the details because of their relationship with the other party. This is what the government repeatedly calls a “careful explanation.”

Prime Minister Kishida and related ministers hold up the IAEA comprehensive report (released on July 4, 2023), claiming that the ocean release plan “meets international standards.” However, the reluctance of the IAEA, an organization that promotes nuclear power, to regulate tritium release has been criticized by the above-mentioned PIF experts. The fact that the Japanese Government did not even produce a Japanese language version of the report, but presented only a summary of its conclusions, cannot possibly be accepted as the “highly transparent and careful explanation” claimed by Prime Minister Kishida.

Despite suggestions from domestic and international experts to continue tank storage, neither TEPCO nor the government has even made an effort to find a potential storage site, preferring instead to dump the waste into the ocean.

The potential impacts of pushing for this conclusion are not only the possibility of irreversible impact on the marine environment. This decision-making process forcing through the ocean dumping is thoroughly destructive of democracy, local autonomy, and the public’s right to know.

We call for the ocean dumping policy to be revoked, and for discussions to be reopened in a zero-based way. In reopening discussions, we especially demand the following:

• Open discussion and consideration of alternatives by domestic and international experts, including dissenting opinions.
• Establishing a special committee in the Diet to focus on the contaminated water issue, and publicly disclose all data and materials necessary for decision-making.
• Holding referendums in each region to ensure the true participation of all concerned parties.

TEPCO and the Japanese Government, which have caused massive environmental damage, are pushing forward with plans to further expand contamination. The exclusion of the public from the decision-making process, as has been done to date, is unacceptable.

We urge the government to revoke the dumping of radioactively contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean, which is unprecedented in scale and duration, and to thoroughly pursue other approaches to protect human beings and communities that have lived in harmony with the ecologically, economically, and culturally precious marine resources.