Japan Voices Concern About Chinese Harassment Over Fukushima Water

FILE - This aerial view shows the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima, northern Japan, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023. (Kyodo News via AP, File)

TOKYO – Japan on Monday voiced concern over the harassment of its citizens by Chinese people following the start of the release of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant last week, saying they are “extremely deplorable.”

Japan will continue to urge China to deliver “accurate information” on the safety of the water, which has been treated through a process capable of removing most radionuclides except tritium, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press conference.

In China, anti-Japan sentiment has been growing since the water discharge from the crippled nuclear complex into the sea began on Thursday. There have been reports of nuisance phone calls believed to originate from China and online appeals to boycott Japanese products.

Noting Tokyo is aware that many Chinese consumers have avoided buying Japanese products as well as cancelled their trips to the neighboring country, Matsuno said the government will ask Beijing to call on its nationals to take “calm actions.”


Hirokazu Matsuno
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno holds a press conference in Tokyo on Aug. 28, 2023. (Kyodo)

But Matsuno, the government’s top spokesman, added that the Japanese economy is unlikely to be affected by the boycott campaign. He also pledged to implement all possible measures to ensure the safety of Japanese individuals staying in China.

Meanwhile, the head of the junior coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has postponed a trip to China. Matsuno said the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will provide assistance in rearranging the tour at an “appropriate time.”

Komeito chief Natsuo Yamaguchi had planned to visit China for three days from Monday, but the Communist-ruled nation told the party, known for its close ties with Beijing, that “it is not the right time in view of the current situation.”

Japan says that the treated water is safe, given that it is diluted to reduce the tritium levels to less than one-40th of the concentration permitted under national safety standards, before being released into the Pacific Ocean.

China, however, has labeled it “nuclear-contaminated water” and reacted harshly to the discharge by banning all imports of seafood products from Japan.


Japan’s Foreign Ministry has requested its citizens planning to travel to or stay in China to be on alert, asking them to “act with care” and to refrain from speaking Japanese loudly in public spaces.


Related articles: