Ardern must implore Japan to reverse its decision on Fukushima wastewater

14 April 2021, 17:50 UTC |

Amnesty International is calling on the New Zealand Government to oppose the Government of Japan’s decision to release more than one million tonnes of radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.

We join a number of concerned organisations across the world who are expressing concerns about the release of Fukushima waste into the ocean. It would take two years for the plant to be readied to release the wastewater which, even in its partially decontaminated state, would directly risk the rights of people in Japan, and likely have wider implications for its surrounding nations that may not be seen for years to come.

The move comes just over ten years since the 2011 earthquake destroyed the nuclear plant, the most severe nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

Amnesty International Campaigns Director Lisa Woods says multiple human rights will be put at risk.

"It is absolutely abhorrent that people’s rights are being put at risk this way. The human right to health, water, food and to life itself are all at stake by events such as this. This must not be allowed to go ahead. Thankfully we do have some time to turn this around, and that gives me hope."

Lisa Woods, Campaign Director, Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand

She says the Pacific will be especially at risk.

"This is going to risk the rights of many, including people in Japan and others in the Pacific. We do not know what ramifications might be in the future. This must not go ahead."

Lisa Woods, Campaign Director, Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand

Woods says Governments such as New Zealand’s must call on Japan to reverse its decision.

"Aotearoa New Zealand - being the pillar of the anti-nuclear movement - should be one of the first to call on the Japan Government to reverse its decision. Jacinda Ardern said climate change was her generation’s nuclear moment, well, here’s a nuclear moment in the climate space for her to address."