By EDDIE OSIFELO
SOLOMON Islands has commended the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Henry Puna for pushing the region’s interest to stop Japan from discharging nuclear wastes into the Pacific ocean.
Japan is moving to start dumping one million tonnes of treated wastewater from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant into the Pacific Ocean, in few months’ time.
This treated water was used to clean up the Fukushima plant after the nuclear accident that followed the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
The US National Association of Marine Laboratories said there was a lack of adequate and accurate scientific data supporting Japan’s assertion of safety.
Speaking at the joint press conference with Puna in Honiara yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Jeremiah Maneli said indeed much of our economy and livelihoods depend upon the resources within our ocean.
He said Solomon Islands welcomes further engagement with Japan on this matter to ensure all the necessary data and information needed to reassure Pacific countries that our ocean will not be affected in the slightest way, are obtained and scientifically verified.
“We are a region that has experienced first-hand the effects of the negative impacts of a nuclear testing legacy and it is our wish that such events do not repeat themselves.
“As a signatory to the 1985 Rarotonga Treaty, Solomon Islands remains supportive of a nuclear free region,” he said.
Furthermore, Puna said he has taken the responsibly on his shoulders and have been pushing hard with Japan to at least defer the proposed discharge for as early as March or April until the agreement that they reached with the Japan Prime Minister in 2011 is accomplished.
“And that agreement basically says that Japan will not proceed with discharge until all international consultations, international law and independent verifiable scientific evidence and assessments have been made and successfully completed,” he said.
However, Puna said he pleased that the Japanese Prime Minister has finally agreed to meet with a high-level delegation from our region and he’s intend to part of the mission on the 7th of March.
“It will be good to have face to face with Japanese Prime Minister to give to him the earnest and humbly plea from the Pacific Region, that this has the potential impacts to damage our livelihoods, our fishery livelihood, our livelihood as people that depend very much and well connected to the ocean in both our cultures and identity,” he added.