| 20 June 2024, Thursday |

Japan condemns ‘extremely regrettable’ harassment calls from China amid Fukushima water discharge

Japan has raised concerns over “extremely regrettable” harassment phone calls it has received since the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. began releasing treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.
Raising “concern” over these phone calls that likely originate from China, on Monday, Japan’s Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Masataka Okano summoned Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wu Jianghao to the Foreign Ministry and strongly denounced the harassment.
As per Japan News, during the meeting, Okano told Jianghao that Beijing “should not unnecessarily raise people’s concerns with information that is not based on scientific evidence.”
He also called on the Chinese government to disseminate accurate information and said that the authorities must ask their citizens to act calmly to prevent the situation from escalating. This comes amid reports of stone-throwing at a Japanese school in the coastal city of Qingdao and embassy.

As per Reuters, the spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry said it was not aware of the matter.

Furthermore, the Chinese embassy in Tokyo has issued a statement stating that it had lodged serious concerns to Japan about the Chinese embassy and consulates in Japan receiving “a substantial volume of bothersome phone calls from Japan.”

These calls, as per ambassador Wu Jianghao, have caused “serious interference in the normal operation of the embassy and consulates.”

The harassment calls
As per Reuters, on Thursday, Fukushima city hall started receiving calls with numbers starting with +86, China’s country code.

On Friday, the number of calls exceeded 200. These calls, as per a city official, flooded phone lines and disrupted city employees’ regular work. The same day, elementary and junior high schools in the city, some 60 kilometres northwest of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, also received 65 similar calls.
As per local media reports, other municipalities, hotels, restaurants too receiving such calls.

Defending China, the nation’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Beijing “always safeguards the safety and lawful rights and interests of foreign nationals in China in accordance with law.”

In a key step towards decommissioning the crippled plant, Japan on Thursday began water discharge. Fukushima plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) has reportedly been filtering contaminated water to remove isotopes, leaving only tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen which is hard to separate. However, China says that Japan is yet to prove that the water would be safe and has even issued a blanket ban on all aquatic products from the nation.

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