Japan to China: Stop the Abusive Phone Calls

Country speaks out about Chinese complaints over release of Fukushima wastewater
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2023 2:00 AM CDT
Updated Aug 28, 2023 5:03 AM CDT
Japan to China: Stop the Abusive Phone Calls
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, damaged by a massive March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, is seen from the nearby Ukedo fishing port in Namie town, northeastern Japan, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023.   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Some in China are extremely unhappy about the release of treated radioactive wastewater from Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, placing abusive phone calls to government departments, schools, restaurants, even a concert hall and aquarium in Japan, per the BBC. More than a million tons of treated radioactive wastewater from the damaged plant will be released into the Pacific Ocean over 30 years. The discharged wastewater contains small amounts of the radioactive isotope tritium, though Japan says radioactivity levels in the ocean around the plant have remained within safe limits since Thursday's start.

Reports indicate China also releases treated wastewater containing tritium—and in some cases higher levels of tritium. Still, the country has been hugely critical of the move, calling it an "extremely selfish and irresponsible act" and moving to ban imports of Japanese seafood. Japanese authorities say the calls came from numbers with a Chinese dial code. The callers speak in Chinese, Japanese, and English, and at times use abusive language while discussing the release, authorities say. Some Japanese businesses "reported that they had started receiving so many calls from Chinese speakers that they had difficulty conducting normal operations," per the Guardian. The owner of four restaurants and pastry shops said his businesses received 1,000 calls on Friday alone.

A senior Japanese diplomat called officials at the Chinese embassy in Tokyo to urge calm, according to a Saturday statement from Japan's Foreign Ministry, which also claimed that Japanese facilities in China had been targeted. "We strongly urge the Chinese government to take appropriate measures, such as calling on its citizens to act calmly, and to take all possible measures to ensure the safety of Japanese residents in China and Japanese diplomatic missions in China," the statement said. Japanese authorities will continue monitoring radioactivity levels in the seawater around the plant, with test results to be released weekly for the next three months, per the BBC. (More Japan stories.)

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