"On 13 April, the Japanese government decided to dispose of the nuclear wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant accident by discharging it into the sea. As a close neighbor and stakeholder, the Chinese side expresses grave concern over this. ... This is highly irresponsible and will severely affect human health and the immediate interests of people in neighboring countries," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
It further called on its neighbor to reevaluate the decision and wait until a consensus is reached with the International Atomic Energy Agency expert team and all stakeholders through consultations.
"China will continue to watch closely the developments of the matter together with the international community and reserves the right to make further reactions," the ministry added.
The Japanese branch of the Greenpeace non-governmental environmental organization, in the meantime, has also strongly condemned the government's decision to dispatch some 1.23 million tonnes of radioactive wastewater.
"The Japanese government has once again failed the people of Fukushima. The government has taken the wholly unjustified decision to deliberately contaminate the Pacific Ocean with radioactive wastes. It has discounted the radiation risks and turned its back on the clear evidence that sufficient storage capacity is available on the nuclear site as well as in surrounding districts," Kazue Suzuki, the climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Japan, said.
Earlier in the day, the Kyodo news agency reported that Japan had finalized its decision to release toxic water into the ocean, as the NPP was running out of storage capacity. Despite neighboring states' concerns, Japan's leadership said there would be no negative impact on the environment or human health.
Japan warned in December that it was running out of storage capacity and would release the water used to cool the Fukushima Daiichi reactor into the Pacific in 2021, prompting concerns of pollution among neighbors. The wastewater discharge is now planned for 2023, but only after it is greenlighted by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.
The Fukushima NPP was heavily damaged in March 2011 after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake in the Pacific Ocean triggered a massive tsunami that hit the plant and caused three nuclear reactors to melt down.