On the 5th, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida promoted his 100.7 billion yen ( 0.6 billion USD) “fishery industry protection” policy on social media, mainly formulating five directions: “expanding domestic consumption and preserving production”, “internal and external response to damage caused by critics”, “changing export destinations”, “strengthening domestic processing systems” and “prompt and meticulous compensation”.
According to a report by Japan’s Kyodo News Agency on September 4, Kishida held consultations with Agricultural Minister Tetsuro Nomura at his official residence on the 4th and summarized additional fishery industry support measures after the launch of the discharge of Fukushima’s contaminated water into the sea. After investing an additional 20.7 billion yen in reserve funds, the total amount of funds for support measures reached 100.7 billion yen ( 0.6 billion USD).
Japanese media said that China opposed the discharge of nuclear contaminated water into the sea and completely suspended the import of Japanese aquatic products, and the above support measures were in response to China’s measures.
The Japanese government has created a fund that includes 30 billion yen to take measures against image damage and 50 billion yen to support the maintenance of the fishing industry, and has announced that it will be “foolproof” in supporting the nation’s fishery industry through additional reserve fees. Of the preparatory fee, 15.6 billion yen will be used to “change the destination of exports” and 5.1 billion yen will be used to “strengthen the processing system”, which will be finalized at the Cabinet meeting as soon as possible.
Despite opposition domestically and abroad, the Japanese government has begun to discharge nuclear-contaminated water into the sea since August 24, and China has lodged solemn representations in this regard.
On the 24th, the General Administration of Customs of China issued a message: In order to comprehensively prevent the risk of radioactive pollution caused by the discharge of nuclear contaminated water from Fukushima, Japan, to secure food safety, to protect the health of Chinese consumers, and to ensure the safety of imported food, in accordance with the Food Safety Law of the People’s Republic of China and its implementing regulations, the relevant provisions of the Measures of the People’s Republic of China for the Administration of Import and Export Food Safety, and relevant provisions of the Agreement of China for the Implementation of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of World Trade Organization. The General Administration of Customs has decided to completely suspend the import of aquatic products (including edible aquatic animals) originating in Japan from August 24, 2023 (including edible aquatic animals).
According to Reuters on the 5th, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on the 4th local time that Japan has submitted a written document to the World Trade Organization (WTO), declaring that the import control measures announced by China after Japan launched the discharge of nuclear contaminated water into the sea are “completely unacceptable.”
On September 5, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning responded that ” we have repeatedly stated China’s solemn position on the issue of Japan’s nuclear contaminated water being discharged into the sea. The international community is generally concerned about the risks brought by Japan’s move to the marine environment and public safety and has taken preventive measures, and China’s relevant measures are completely justified, reasonable and necessary. “
“As for the specific issues you mentioned, I suggest you learn from the competent authorities of the Chinese side.” Mao Ning said. Japan said that it had spent hundreds of billions of yen in response to China’s ban and demanded negotiations with China under RCEP.
What’s the options
It’s the Japanese government’s routine to pay attention to every little thing and lose every little thing.
There are at least five ways to handle Japan’s contaminated water, which costs between 34-243 billion yen:
- Discharge into the sea, which demands about 3.4 billion yen (about 23 million USD), which is the cheapest way;
- Turn the water to vapor and discharge into the atmosphere. This steam emissions require 34.9 billion yen (about 11 million USD);
- Discharge water into deep underground using underground pipes, which costs 18 billion yen (123 million USD);
- Electrolytic treatment, which requires 100 billion yen (about 700 million USD);
- Solidify it and bury it underground, which is the most expensive, but it only requires about 243.1 billion yen, which is only more than 1.6 billion USD.
But what did the Japanese do?
First, it offered the IAEA 1 million euros of “funding” and requested the IAEA to “provide the green light” to its own sea exclusion actions. Whether the money is a bribe or not, but by the nature of the IAEA, 1 million euros is enough for this poor organization to say good things about Japan. Because the IAEA had the obligation to comply with and report to the General Assembly, but there was no monetary relationship between the IAEA and the United Nations, IAEA’s annual assessed budget was determined by consultations in the United Nations General Assembly.
Therefore, Yang Won-young, a member of the Democratic Party of Korea, said on the KBS program on July 9 this year: The IAEA is not a United Nations affiliated organization, but an organization that relies on donations from nuclear power plant countries. The IAEA is therefore financed from two sources: assessed budgets from countries and voluntary contributions from other countries. In March this year, China donated 200,000 euros to support the International Atomic Energy Agency in ensuring the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities.
But contrary to what most people believe, the IAEA has been short of money, with a Canadian agency in 2012 pointing to a severe funding shortfall for the IAEA and warning that such a situation could restrict the nuclear watchdog’s ability to detect covert nuclear activities. Therefore, since then, some countries in the General Assembly have been calling for an increase in the budget of the International Atomic Energy Agency, but it is interesting that at that time, some European countries and industrial countries such as Japan refused to increase the aid budget to the IAEA on the grounds that their finances were affected by debt problems.
Now that Japan has a favor to ask from the IAEA, therefore it has begun to make a large donation to the organization, which can be said to be a typical “political contribution”. For such not very wealthy organizations, it is typical for whoever provides money to support whomever speaks, after all, the personnel of these institutions are also human beings and also need money to support their families.
In addition, there are three IAEA bodies, including the General Assembly, the Board of Governors and the Secretariat, of which only the IAEA General Conference can represent the opinions of all member States, and none of the other boards and secretariats can represent them. Not to mention the individual opinion of the agency’s director-general, Grossi, which merely does not represent the opinion of all member states.
So the act of discharging Japanese nuclear wastewater into the sea did not receive a “permission” at all!
In addition, some people have disclosed that Japan is expected to spend 70 billion yen on the discharge of nuclear sewage for public relations, which is 20 times the current nuclear pollution budget, and it only costs 34.9 billion yen to treat nuclear contaminated water by steam discharge.
And that’s not all, Japan has lost more than $2 billion because China has entirely ceased importing Japanese seafood. According to 2022 data, about 22.5% of China’s seafood imports come from Japan, with an import value of about US$2.14 billion, equivalent to more than 324 billion yen.
Looking at Japan’s nuclear wastewater treatment plan, the most costly method is option 5, which is to bury it in the ground, which demands about 243.1 billion yen.
Japan gave the IAEA 1 million euros, equivalent to 150 million yen; 70 billion yen in public relations costs; and seafood export losses of about 324.4 billion yen, adding up to a total of nearly 400 billion yen. This figure is the most expensive and honourable amount to deal with nuclear-contaminated water, which is about twice the budget required for programme 5.
And this is not counting the long-term losses, based on the amount of seafood imported by China in 2022, Japan’s yearly export losses are equivalent to 1.5 times that of Option 5. In other words, in 30 years, even excluding the growth rate of seafood exports, Japan’s export losses will reach more than 60 billion US dollars, equivalent to nearly 9 trillion yen.
Does this seem like something that a mentally competent country do?