Kishida talks to Chinese premier about Japan's position on treated water release

NHK -- Sep 07

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has explained to China's Premier Li Qiang about Tokyo's position on the discharge of treated and diluted water into the sea from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Kishida spoke with Li briefly on the sidelines of ASEAN meetings in Indonesia on Wednesday.

Government sources say Kishida explained Japan's stance that the safety of the water being discharged is scientifically ensured, and asked for China's understanding. China has been strongly opposed to the water release.

Sources also say Kishida and Li reaffirmed that their countries will aim to build constructive and stable bilateral relations.

Earlier in the day, Kishida explained the safety of the water discharge and sought understanding for it at the Japan-ASEAN summit.

Kishida also attended the ASEAN Plus Three Summit -- a meeting involving the leaders of ASEAN, Japan, China and South Korea -- where he referred to China's suspension of all imports of Japanese seafood.

He called China's move extreme, saying he will request scientific evidence-based measures and provision of accurate information.

Meanwhile, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported that Premier Li clarified his country's position on Japan's release of the water during the ASEAN Plus Three Summit. Xinhua reported that Li urged Tokyo to handle the matter responsibly.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered a triple meltdown in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Water used to cool molten fuel at the plant has been mixing with rain and groundwater.

The accumulated water is treated to remove most radioactive substances, but still contains tritium.

Before releasing the treated water into the sea, the Tokyo Electric Power Company dilutes it to reduce tritium levels to about one-seventh of the World Health Organization's guidance level for drinking water.