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Water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant to be released into Pacific Ocean

South Korean fishermen stage a rally against the planned release of treated radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant, in front of the National Assembly in Seoul on June 1, 2023. (AP Photo)

South Korean environmental activists and their supporters from dozens of NGOs across the country gathered in the center of Seoul on Sunday to protest against Japan's plan to release the nuclear contaminated water from the Fukushima power plant.

Protesters argued that the release violates international law and that its effects are unknown.

It's impossible to even estimate the possible catastrophic impact on future generations and ecosystems of mankind.

The Japanese government is clearly violating international law.

The Convention on the Law of the Sea imposes an obligation to take all measures using the best practical means to prevent marine pollution.

Ha Joo-Hee, Lawyers for a Democratic Society

This week, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, toured the site during his visit to Japan before heading to South Korea.

Grossi's report said the planned release of the treated wastewater would have a "negligible radiological impact on people and the environment and meets international standards".

But Grossi and the IAEA did not endorse Japan's plan, or accept responsibility for any potential negative consequences.

The IAEA has sided with the Japanese Government throughout the report, but is crucially avoiding their responsibilities by showing a dual attitude.

I think the IAEA has failed to fulfill its responsibilities as an international organization.

Choi Kyung-Sok, Federation of Environmental Movements

South Korea's opposition has slammed President Yoon Suk Yeol over his government's support of the plan, arguing that Yoon seeks to gain diplomatic favor with Tokyo in order to strengthen the country's alliance with the United States.

Demonstrations against Japan's plan to release the nuclear contaminated water from the Fukushima plant into the Pacific Ocean have grown larger as the date to begin the discharge approaches.

Polls show that 80% of the South Korean public opposes the move, yet the dumping is still scheduled to begin within weeks, and, is expected to last for decades.

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