Protests mount in South Korea over Japan's plan to release Fukushima water

Protests mount in South Korea over Japan
# 23 August 2023 16:40 (UTC +04:00)

South Korea's majority opposition party and civic groups around the country stepped up protests on Wednesday against Japan's plan to release water from the Fukushima nuclear plant a day ahead of the planned start of the discharge, APA reports citing Reuters.

Conservative President Yoon Suk Yeol's government has come under criticism as it defended the position that its own assessment found no problems with the scientific and technical aspects of Japan's plan.

"We intend to hold the Yoon government responsible for failing to do its duties," opposition Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung said at a party meeting, calling Japan's plan to discharge water from the Fukushima plant an act of terror.

Public concern remains high in South Korea over the plan to release more than 1 million metric tons of treated radioactive water starting at 1 p.m. Japan time on Thursday, with a majority of people expressing worry over seafood and ocean contamination, according to surveys.

In a July public survey by the pollster Media Research, 62% of the people said they would cut back or stop consuming seafood once the discharge goes ahead, despite the South Korean government's assurances to closely monitor the release.

Local governments in South Korea said they would step up radiation tests over seafood to ease consumer concerns. The Seoul metropolitan government said on Wednesday it would carry out daily testing for all seafood at major markets and disclose the results real-time, while South Gyeongsang province plans to livestream its testing.