A Chinese state newspaper has warned there could be a ‘real-life Godzilla’ after Japan started releasing radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.
Earlier today, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) started pumping water containing radioactive tritium into the Pacific Ocean, prompting fierce opposition from China, South Korea and fishing communities.
Japan has insisted the water discharge is completely safe following assessments from foreign experts and the the International Atomic Energy Agency who ruled it will cause negligible impact on the environment and human health.
Despite this, the discharge of more than 1million tonnes of contaminated water, which is expected to take 30 to 40 years, has caused anger in neighbouring countries and concern among fishers that it will destroy their industry.
China has since banned Japanese seafood and criticised the country as being ‘extremely selfish and irresponsible’. South Korean protestors also attempted to enter the Japanese embassy in Seoul carrying banners which read ‘The sea is not Japan’s trash bin’.
The Chinese Communist Party’s flagship newspaper The Global Times then wrote that it could open ‘Pandora’s box’ and trigger fears of a ‘real-life Godzilla’, in reference to the reptile monster which first appeared in Japanese cinema in 1954.
South Korean police announced that they arrested 16 protestors as roughly 50 people attempted to enter the Japanese embassy in Seoul.
Officers could be seen physically carrying and dragging the protestors away before they were bundled into a bus.
Some of the protestors managed to make it up to the eighth floor of the Seoul building – where the actual embassy is located – and protested: ‘Stop releasing contaminated water at once!’
A police officer at the Jongno police station in the South Korean capital said 16 people were arrested on charges of trespassing, accusing them of trying to break into the embassy.
Beijing’s foreign ministry said in a statement: ‘The ocean is the common property of all humanity, and forcibly starting the discharge of Fukushima’s nuclear wastewater into the ocean is an extremely selfish and irresponsible act that ignores international public interests.’
Hong Kong has now also set up a special government team to monitor and review an important ban on some Japanese seafood.
Authorities will monitor imports and publish daily radiation sample results so the public can see, the city’s Permanent Secretary for Environment and Ecology Vivian Lau said.
Fears about the wastewater are said to be taking a heavy toll on some businesses in South Korea’s seafood industry.