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Seoul summons Japanese diplomat over plans for Fukushima radioactive water

Tomofumi Nishinaga, a minister for economic affairs from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, appears at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in central Seoul, Monday, summoned over Tokyo's plan to deal with the contaminated water from Fukushima's tsunami-devastated nuclear power plant. Yonhap
Tomofumi Nishinaga, a minister for economic affairs from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, appears at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in central Seoul, Monday, summoned over Tokyo's plan to deal with the contaminated water from Fukushima's tsunami-devastated nuclear power plant. Yonhap

By Jung Da-min

Seoul's Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned a Japanese diplomat on Monday to request Tokyo's official answer for its possible plan to release contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean. A tsunami devastated the power plant in 2011.

In the meantime, South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono will hold a meeting in Beijing, Wednesday, on the sidelines of the trilateral minister-level talks among South Korea, Japan and China, sources familiar with the issue said.

Kwon Sei-joong, the director-general for Climate Change, Energy, Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met the economic minister Tomofumi Nishinaga from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul to address growing public concerns over the radioactive water.

"Director Kwon proposed (to Minister Nishinaga) that South Korea and Japan should seek ways to treat the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water so as not to affect citizens and the ecosystem of the neighboring countries," the foreign ministry's statement read.

Nishinaga said in reply that he would report back to Tokyo and the Japanese government would announce plans over the radioactive water to South Korea and the international community.

The Japanese government was mulling over the plan of controlled release of the radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean after the utility company Tokyo Electric Power which has been operating the Fukushima nuclear power plant said it would run out of space to store the contaminated water around 2022.

As international groups and activists including Greenpeace have warned of the side-effects that would also affect South Korea if the radioactive water is released into the Pacific Ocean, South Korea's foreign ministry last week vowed to "actively" deal with the issue.

The issue of radioactive water came amid the ongoing trade row between Seoul and Tokyo.

Seoul has been making diplomatic efforts to bring Tokyo back to the negotiating table after President Moon Jae-in said Seoul will "gladly join hands" if Tokyo cooperates to resolve the friction through dialogue, delivering a speech last Thursday to mark the 74th anniversary of the Korean Peninsula's liberation from Japanese colonial rule.



Tomofumi Nishinaga, a minister for economic affairs from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, appears at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in central Seoul, Monday, summoned over Tokyo's plan to deal with the contaminated water from Fukushima's tsunami-devastated nuclear power plant. Yonhap
Tomofumi Nishinaga, a minister for economic affairs from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, appears at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in central Seoul, Monday, summoned over Tokyo's plan to deal with the contaminated water from Fukushima's tsunami-devastated nuclear power plant. Yonhap

By Jung Da-min

Seoul's Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned a Japanese diplomat on Monday to request Tokyo's official answer for its possible plan to release contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean. A tsunami devastated the power plant in 2011.

In the meantime, South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono will hold a meeting in Beijing, Wednesday, on the sidelines of the trilateral minister-level talks among South Korea, Japan and China, sources familiar with the issue said.

Kwon Sei-joong, the director-general for Climate Change, Energy, Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met the economic minister Tomofumi Nishinaga from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul to address growing public concerns over the radioactive water.

"Director Kwon proposed (to Minister Nishinaga) that South Korea and Japan should seek ways to treat the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water so as not to affect citizens and the ecosystem of the neighboring countries," the foreign ministry's statement read.

Nishinaga said in reply that he would report back to Tokyo and the Japanese government would announce plans over the radioactive water to South Korea and the international community.

The Japanese government was mulling over the plan of controlled release of the radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean after the utility company Tokyo Electric Power which has been operating the Fukushima nuclear power plant said it would run out of space to store the contaminated water around 2022.

As international groups and activists including Greenpeace have warned of the side-effects that would also affect South Korea if the radioactive water is released into the Pacific Ocean, South Korea's foreign ministry last week vowed to "actively" deal with the issue.

The issue of radioactive water came amid the ongoing trade row between Seoul and Tokyo.

Seoul has been making diplomatic efforts to bring Tokyo back to the negotiating table after President Moon Jae-in said Seoul will "gladly join hands" if Tokyo cooperates to resolve the friction through dialogue, delivering a speech last Thursday to mark the 74th anniversary of the Korean Peninsula's liberation from Japanese colonial rule.



Jung Da-min damin.jung@koreatimes.co.kr


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