Incident at Japan’s Embassy in China Amid Fukushima Water Release Dispute

Japan Expresses Concern over Harassment of Citizens in China Amid Fukushima Water Release

Japan has voiced its strong concern over the recent instances of harassment faced by Japanese citizens in China following the discharge of treated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant. The Japanese government confirmed that an unsettling incident occurred at its embassy in Beijing when a brick was thrown at the embassy’s premises.

In response to Japan’s decision to release treated wastewater from the Fukushima plant, China imposed a ban on all seafood imports from Japan. Both Tokyo and the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog have attested to the safety of this operation, stating that the released water poses no harm.

Subsequent to the ban, Japanese authorities have advised their citizens in China to maintain a low profile and have enhanced security measures around schools and diplomatic establishments.

Japan’s foreign minister acknowledged reports from the media about the brick-throwing incident at their embassy in Beijing. He echoed the sentiments expressed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, urging China to take effective measures to de-escalate the situation.

Yoshimasa Hayashi, Japan’s foreign minister, stated, “The incident is deeply regrettable and concerning.” He emphasized the importance of China’s intervention to calm the situation, urging them to encourage their citizens to act rationally to prevent any escalation. He further emphasized the necessity of ensuring the safety of Japanese residents and diplomatic missions in China.

Hayashi also called upon China to provide accurate information regarding the Fukushima water release, emphasizing the importance of basing information on scientific grounds to avoid unnecessary concerns.

A spokesperson from the Japanese embassy in Beijing expressed the embassy’s deep concern about the situation, stating that some individuals had approached the embassy’s entrance before being escorted away by armed police.

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, responded to questions about the incident, asserting that China always safeguards the safety and rights of foreigners within its borders in accordance with the law. He further urged Japan to acknowledge the legitimate concerns of all parties, cease the discharge of nuclear-contaminated water, engage in consultations with neighboring countries and stakeholders, and handle the contaminated water responsibly.

Citizens Urged to Exercise Caution

Following these developments, Japan’s foreign ministry advised its citizens in China to exercise caution in their speech and behavior. They encouraged refraining from speaking Japanese loudly or unnecessarily, considering the tense environment.

Reports have emerged regarding numerous instances of prank calls, including offensive and discriminatory language, directed at various businesses in Japan, such as bakeries and an aquarium. Some of these calls have been shared on social media platforms in China and have garnered significant attention.

The Fukushima Water Release

Japan initiated the release of treated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, equating to over 500 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of water. This decision comes more than a decade after a devastating tsunami disabled three reactors in one of the most severe nuclear accidents globally.

The released water has been treated to remove all radioactive elements except tritium, which is within safe levels and lower than the tritium released during regular operations of nuclear power plants, including those in China, according to the plant operator, TEPCO.

Tests conducted on seawater and fish samples near the Fukushima plant have affirmed the safety of the discharged water. However, this water release process will span several decades before completion, as stated by Japanese authorities.