Disquiet in Taiwan Over Japan’s Fukushima Wastewater Discharge
Majority of Taiwanese Citizens Express Concern
A recent survey conducted by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation (TPOF) has revealed a significant level of concern among the populace regarding Japan’s decision to release treated wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean. The study found that an estimated 64% of Taiwanese citizens harbor worries about the potential for this wastewater to pollute the global ocean, including the waters surrounding Taiwan. Conversely, the survey indicated that just under 32% of respondents were not perturbed by the decision.
Expert Opinions on Environmental Impact
The decision to discharge the Fukushima wastewater has ignited spirited debate among experts. Although there is no universal agreement, a substantial number of experts maintain that the move is unlikely to inflict direct harm on either the environment or human populations. Nigel Marks, a professor of Physics and Astronomy at Australia’s Curtin University, compared this release to similar actions carried out over the past six decades. He reassured that, while the decision might sound alarming, it is currently the only viable option for Fukushima. Furthermore, he emphasized that every possible measure has been taken to ensure the best possible decision, considering all relevant factors.
China’s Response and Taiwanese Reaction
The survey also sought the respondents’ views on China’s comprehensive ban on Japanese seafood, a move made in response to the release of Fukushima’s wastewater. A slight majority (just over 50%) of those surveyed considered China’s decision reasonable, while approximately 35% disagreed with the ban. These figures suggest that the discharge of wastewater from the Fukushima power plant and its potential environmental impact have elicited considerable concern among the Taiwanese population.
Taiwan’s Stance on Japan’s Wastewater Release
In a separate development, Taiwan’s foreign ministry has communicated to Japan that if radiation levels in the treated nuclear wastewater exceed safety standards in waters around Taiwan, Japan should halt the release. The Taiwanese authorities have also requested that the issue be included in the annual Taiwan-Japan dialogue on oceanic affairs and the annual discussions between Taiwan’s Atomic Energy Council and its Japanese counterpart. This move is intended to facilitate the development of the best possible methods for monitoring the safety levels of the released wastewater.
Citizen Activism and Governmental Measures
A number of non-governmental organizations in Taiwan have voiced strong opposition to Japan’s decision, raising concerns about the impact on aquatic life as the wastewater enters fishing areas. In response, Taiwan’s Atomic Energy Council announced its collaboration with relevant government agencies to test radiation levels in marine products caught in waters around Taiwan and the North Pacific. The council is stepping up inspections and plans to conduct 3,000 tests on marine products from nearby waters this year.
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