Japan is currently facing backlash regarding its controversial plan to release treated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean from several neighboring countries such as China, South Korea, and Russia (BBC). The issue was debated in the Security Council, where the The Republic of China and the Russian Federation strongly opposed Japan’s plan. They created an alliance, and, in the opening speech, announced their strong opposition to Japan’s plan. Throughout the conference, they worked together to present various amendments that limited Japan’s actions and ability to manage and control the issue.
The most controversial amendment, presented by the Republic of Russia, states:
Urges the Japanese Government to provide the neighboring States of Japan, notably the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, and the Russian Federation, along with any other pertinent State, the opportunity to obtain samples from the location of release of the water stored at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, with guidance of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), prior, during and after the release of the water; [Russian Federation], [Passed]. (Issue#1 Security Council)
This proposition is controversial since it demands samples from the location of the release of the water as proof that they are carrying out the correct procedures to improve the current situation by reducing the amount of toxic waste in the Fukushima nuclear plant power. This demonstrates Russia's and other countries’ distrust of Japan’s ability to be ethical and correct without the need for external intervention.
Words like “skeptical”, “lack of transparency” and “dishonesty” were used when addressing the Japanese government’s approach to dispose of the wastewater by several delegates, such as the delegate from Brazil and the United Arab Emirates.
This concern is a serious accusation, and implies that the Japanese government may illegally falsify reports regarding the safety of its wastewater. Moreover, according to Harvard Business School’s article “Understanding ordinary unethical behavior”, Japan is not legally obligated to give other countries samples from the locations of released wastewater (Harvard Business School).
The amendment was a political attack from the Russian Federation and The Republic of China towards the Japanese government and was, therefore, strongly opposed by the delegates of Japan, Malta, Ghana, and France. Due to the strong opposition, the amendment did not pass.
Gino, Francesca. "Understanding Ordinary Unethical Behavior: Why People Who Value Morality Act Immorally." Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, vol. 3, June 2015, pp. 107-11, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cobeha.2015.03.001. Accessed 10 Nov. 2023.
Wong, Tessa. "Fukushima: What Are the Concerns over Waste Water Release?" BBC News, 25 Aug. 2023, www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-66106162. Accessed 9 Nov. 2023.