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G20 Summit: PM Kishida Claims He Secured Understanding of International Leaders on Fukushima Water Release

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment event on the day of the G20 summit in New Delhi, India, September 9, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, September 13, 2023/ -- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida addressed the press following the closing of the two-day 2023 G20 Summit in India, which took place on September 9 and 10.

After welcoming the adoption of a common declaration as a major outcome for the G20 nations, despite the widening gap over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Prime Minister tackled the topic regarding the discharge of treated and diluted water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, which Japan initiated on August 24, in accordance with international standards approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

PM Kishida stated that he gained further support from world's leaders by explaining the safety of the release of the treated radioactive water. The Prime Minister reported that leaders had evaluated the process as safe and transparent. Kishida added: "I could gain support and understanding for Japan's measures from the US, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Cook Islands, which chairs the Pacific Islands Forum. Other countries such as Turkey and the Netherlands also showed their support."

During the G20 session, PM Kishida addressed leaders of the Summit, including USA President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, on the safety of the treated water release from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean. At the session, Japanese Prime Minister reiterated the transparency and compliance of the procedure, in line with IAEA international standards and secured the G20 leaders' understanding on the topic.

According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, the Fukushima water discharge was also among topics at PM Kishida's sideline meetings with several G20 leaders, including Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

At the wrapping press conference, PM Kishida also mentioned a brief meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang. This meeting follows bilateral talks between PM Kishida and China's Premier Li Qiang on the sidelines of a recent ASEAN meeting in Indonesia, on September 6th.

China has been voicing its strong opposition over the water release and has taken several steps hindering its bilateral relations with Tokyo, including a ban on seafood imports from Japan. Japan reported this to the World Trade Organization on September 5th, stating the ban was "totally unacceptable".

Besides China, an international consensus over the procedure's safety has been widely reached. Official statements and actions from major international representatives - including from the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, H.E. Rahm Emanuel, and H.E. Justin Hayhurst, Australian Ambassador to Japan - as well as reports from reputable international organizations, including from the IAEA, all agree on the safety and negligible impact of the ALPS procedure.

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