Forum Leaders issue collective statement regarding Fukushima water discharge


PACIFIC Islands Forum Chair and Cook Islands Prime Minister, Mark Brown, addressed a press conference, highlighting the issuance of a collective statement by Forum Foreign Ministers concerning the release of Advanced Liquid Processing Systems (ALPS) treated water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear facility.

During the online press conference with regional media, Mr. Brown emphasized that the statement reaffirms the Forum’s role as the guardians of the Pacific Ocean. The statement specifically calls for elevated dialogue with both the Government of Japan and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ensure transparency and accountability in the ongoing release of treated water. It also acknowledges the importance of enhancing scientific capacity and monitoring capabilities to assess the health and well-being of the Pacific maritime ecosystems.

Mr. Brown mentioned that concerns about Japan’s proposal had been raised by Pacific Island nations over time. As the chair of the Forum, he personally conveyed these concerns to the Japanese Government. Subsequently, an agreement was reached for more intensive dialogue between the scientific panels of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and Japanese scientists. Furthermore, the engagement of IAEA scientists was requested to provide an independent report on Japan’s proposal.

He noted that the IAEA’s report was recently received by member countries and discussed during the Troika meeting last month. The Troika’s position was that every country is entitled to review the report and form its own stance on Japan’s wastewater discharge plans, respecting each country’s sovereignty as an independent state.

Meanwhile, Forum leaders recalled the decisions made at the Ninth Pacific Islands Forum and Japan Leaders Meeting (PALM9) on July 2, 2021. During this meeting, they highlighted the significance of international consultation, adherence to international law, and the need for independent and verifiable scientific assessments. These positions were reaffirmed by Forum Leaders in subsequent meetings in Fiji in July 2022 and in February 2023.

In alignment with their 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and their role as custodians of the Pacific Ocean, Forum Foreign Ministers recognize the IAEA as the authority on nuclear safety and take note of the IAEA’s report dated July 2, 2023. They reiterated their collective Forum position and the process undertaken over the past three years.

Forum Foreign Ministers commit to ongoing dialogue with the Government of Japan and welcome the IAEA’s proposal for an annual dialogue mechanism with the Forum to monitor and evaluate the release of treated water. They stress the importance of developing regional scientific capabilities and monitoring systems to assess the health and well-being of the Pacific maritime ecosystem, including potential impacts on human health.

Forum Foreign Ministers encourage and recommend that this issue be included in the PALM Meeting agenda, the establishment of an annual political dialogue mechanism, and continued independent monitoring by the IAEA. They anticipate further discussion by Forum Leaders at the 52nd Forum Leaders meeting in Rarotonga in November 2023.

Discover more from Theislandsun

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading