Japan Keeps Korea in the Dark Over Radioactive Discharge

      April 05, 2011 08:58

      The Japanese government neither consulted nor informed its closest neighbor Korea on Monday when it announced a plan to discharge 11,500 tons of contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea.

      Tokyo decided to discharge contaminated water with more than 100 times the legal limit of radiation, but even senior Korean government officials had to find out about it through media reports.

      U.S. Rear Admiral Robert Girrier (left) briefs on relief efforts to U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos (second from right) and Japan's Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa (third from right) on the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan on Monday. /AP-Newsis

      A Foreign Ministry official said, "We didn't hear anything about it from the Japanese Foreign Ministry in advance. Since we can't decide how to respond only based on news reports, we're going to gather opinions from experts."

      He was apparently referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Normally, after the Japanese government makes any decision on the nuclear power plant, the IAEA gives a briefing on its technical assessment a day later.

      Government officials were therefore divided whether to protest to Japan first or wait for the IAEA. Kim Bong-hyun of the Foreign Ministry, said, "If any country discharges contaminated materials into the sea without any consultation with us, we should protest. But we are going to review Japan's decision in a scientific way to find out whether it has violated international norms."

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