South Korean minister calls Japan ‘immoral’ for covering up Fukushima leaks
Sep 30, 2013 John Hofilena, JDP
Short of calling the Japanese government a liar, South Korea’s fisheries minister strongly blasted Japan on Monday for trying to downplay and cover up the now high-profile contaminated water leaks at the disaster stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant. Yoon Jin-sook, South Korea’s minister of oceans and fisheries said that Japan as a country is without conscience or morality for hiding the leaks for so long before they were eventually admitted by the government and utility operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO).
“We wondered if we had to protect such immoral people under diplomatic protocols, and so we did it (placed an import ban) as soon as we could,” Yoon was quoted as telling reporters. “We did not know that Japan would let the contaminated water leak. We thought this cannot be allowed while our people’s fears were growing,” she reportedly said. The South Korean minister had reportedly said that Japanese fishery products tested safe. However, the ministry has still placed an import ban on all fishery products from eight Japanese prefectures near the site of the Fukushima nuclear facility. The Great East Japan Earthquake and the tsunami that it brought had caused major meltdowns in the plants’ reactors, bringing what is now the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
TEPCO had recently reversed its denials and admitted that after two and a half years since the earthquake, it is leaking hundreds of metric tons of radioactive water daily into the Pacific Ocean. South Korea had initially banned all fisheries products from Fukushima, but has earlier this month expanded that import ban to include all fisheries products from seven surrounding prefectures. Although the distribution of fisheries products contaminated by radioactive materials following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster has not been confirmed in South Korea, there is growing concern among the international community over the leaks of contaminated water at the facility and its eventual effect on the ocean.