Japan Foreign Minister assures Pacific nations of ALPS treated water discharge compliance

Japan Foreign Minister, Yoko Kamikawa, at the Pacific Islands Forum press briefing (February 12, 2024) (Photo: FILE)

Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa has reassured her Pacific counterparts the discharge of Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) treated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean last year followed international safety standards.

The commitment includes continued collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

She appreciated the science-based discussions between Pacific Island Countries, Japan, and the IAEA.

The Ministers recognised the IAEA as the nuclear safety authority, referring to the Comprehensive Report issued on 4 July 2023 and “concurred on the importance of being based on scientific evidence in this matter”.

“PIF Ministers welcomed the intensive dialogue with Japan and recalled the Communique of the 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders, inter alia the importance of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty (Rarotonga Treaty). The Ministers concurred on maintaining the ALPS issue as a standing agenda item for PALM, supported by an ongoing dialogue process,” the chairs summary statement said.

Ministers also committed to working together based on the international rules-based order, rooted in mutual respect and consistent with the UN Charter principles. The commitment aims to uphold rights, freedoms, and sovereignty protected by international law.

“This included shared universal values such as freedom, democracy, sustainable development, the rule of law, human rights, human dignity, the peaceful resolution of disputes, and respect for environmental integrity,” the summary stated.

The Ministers expressed their commitment to achieving a world without nuclear weapons.

“The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts to create a more stable and safer world and of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament regime and the pursuit of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, alongside a wide range of treaties and arms control agreements that contribute to this aim,” said the summary statement.

Minister Kamikawa explained these shared values form Japan’s effort to establish a free and open international order in the region, following international law and the UN Charter.

She emphasised Japan’s commitment to supporting the Pacific Region’s vision, priorities, and regionalism in line with the 2050 Strategy and the 2050 Strategy Implementation Plan.

“The PIF Ministers expressed their appreciation for Japan’s enduring support for a resilient Pacific Region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity, ensuring all Pacific peoples can lead free, healthy, and productive lives,” the summary statement said.

The PIF Ministers highlighted the importance of working in close partnership to ensure PALM10 strengthens collective efforts in responding to regional and global development challenges including: climate change and disasters; ocean and environment; resources and economic development; technology and connectivity; and people-centered development. Minister Kamikawa explained that the PALM10 will be held in Tokyo in July 2024 and PIF Ministers welcomed Japan’s hosting of PALM10.