Japanese fishermen sue over Fukushima water discharge

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Approximately 150 Japanese fishermen, hailing from the Fukushima Prefecture filed a lawsuit on Friday in the district court of Japanese jurisdiction. In this case, the defendants are the TEPCO and the government. The legal action is centered around the release of radioactive water treated at the Fukushima-1 Nuclear Power Plant. This is the first time a group lawsuit has been filed in this case, despite previous protests from Japanese and South Korean citizens.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include fishermen from Fukushima, Tokyo, Miyagi, Iwate, Ibaraki, Chiba, and Niigata prefectures.The lawsuit contends that the government’s decision regarding the water discharge is unlawful. This collective suit includes the primary demands of revocation the permit for altering the water discharge plan, and pre-operational checks of the facilities. Ultimately, the core demand is to cease the water discharge, a responsibility currently held by TEPCO.

Previously, the Japanese government stated that they had provided a detailed plan to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). Simultaneously, the head of the IAEA confirmed approval of this plan during a public meeting, asserting that it adheres strictly to safety standards established by the global organization.The radioactive water originates from the partially damaged Fukushima-1 nuclear reactor. According to the Japanese plan it will be gradually purified through a system that removes multivalent ions. The international community is skeptical of this plan. This is mainly because tritium shares similar chemical properties to hydrogen, and therefore

cannot effectively be purified or removed. To date, there are no feasible methods for genuinely decontaminating this water from radioactive pollutants, posing potential threats to global flora and fauna.

Opposition to this idea has also arisen from the governments of South Korea and China, both of which directly rely on water that could potentially be contaminated with tritium. China has imposed an embargo against Japanese seafood after its protest of August 24th. In response, Japan allocated approximately 100 billion yen to support its fishing industry as a countermeasure.