By People's Daily
Discharging nuclear-contaminated wastewater from its crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific ocean on Aug. 24, Japan has labeled itself as an "environmental polluter."
Despite the strong opposition and doubts both domestically and internationally, and with obvious and widespread risks, Japan still prioritizes its self-interests over the long-term wellbeing of humanity. It only reveals the country's extreme selfishness and irresponsibility.
This sets a terrible precedent. It might be hard for people to believe at the beginning that this is happening in a country that had long claimed to champion environmental protection and food safety and had previously succeeded in promoting those positive images of itself. But today, they have no choice but to agree that Japan's eco-friendly image in the past was all hype.
If the country can make the world "share" nuclear-contaminated wastewater, what problems with Japanese products can't it gloss over and then peddle to others?
To implement the discharge plan, Japan launched various public relation campaigns, flooding media with claims about the water's so-called safety to drown out public worries. The country established an 80-billion-yen ($410 million) special fund to subsidize the fishing industry in Fukushima to silence dissent and made excuses at the NATO Summit, the ASEAN-plus ministerials, the Eastern Caribbean Ministerial Meeting on Fisheries and Sustainable Use of Living Marine Resources and on other occasions. Even as the International Atomic Energy Agency clarified its report was not an endorsement, Japan still muddied the waters.
Once discharged, radionuclides in the water will quickly spread, inflicting different types of biological damage. Japan disregards the importance of the environment and ecology, and its reckless dumping poses grave threats to marine life, food chains, and human health. Japan's actions epitomize irresponsible ocean pollution and environmental destruction.
Bad deeds inevitably backfire. Japan's arrogance has drawn strong international condemnation and will definitely be retaliated by impacted nations. The discharge will also cause lasting reputational damage for the country.
Trust and respect are the most valuable things. Japan's ocean discharge aligns with the country's strategic ambitions. It will generate short-term economic gains and faits accomplis, but Japanese leaders prioritizing quick wins will pay far heavier costs.
Japan assumes established facts will force acceptance, but from today on, it bears a permanent mark of disgrace. The ecological, political, and economic fallout will accumulate globally. Governments, including those adopting appeasement, will face intensifying public opposition. Businesses reliant on oceans and water will demand compensation for major losses from Japan. The wastewater will become the most pressing, severe, and prolonged topic for international environmental protection organizations.
Every drop of nuclear-contaminated water flowing from Japan to international waters will bring endless accountability to Japan.