TOKYO (AP) — Japan announced Thursday that it will donate 2 million euros ($2.1 million) to the International Atomic Energy Agency for its efforts to ensure the safety of Ukrainian nuclear facilities that have been attacked by Russia.
Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi unveiled the commitment after meeting with IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, who is visiting Japan for talks with officials and to visit the tsunami-destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant. .
The IAEA sent experts to Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986, which was occupied by the Russian military for five weeks, and to another plant in southern Ukraine.
Grossi, who led the two missions, said earlier this week that the IAEA plans to send another security mission to Chernobyl in the coming weeks at the request of the Ukrainian government.
Hayashi said Japan is funding “urgently needed dispatch of IAEA experts and necessary equipment” to the Ukraine facility.
“Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s nuclear facilities are absolutely inadmissible,” Hayashi said. “Japan, which suffered from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, condemns the acts in the strongest terms.”
Japan quickly joined the United States and Europe in imposing sanctions against Russia while providing financial and humanitarian support to Ukraine, in part out of concern that Moscow’s invasion could embolden China’s growing assertiveness in the world. East Asia.
Grossi, who took a two-hour tour of the Fukushima Daiichi complex early Thursday, hailed its “remarkable progress” since two years ago when he last visited the plant, despite difficulties caused by the pandemic.
He visited plant facilities related to the planned release of treated radioactive water into the sea and reiterated the IAEA’s commitment to provide long-term support to Japan to ensure the release meets international safety standards and reassure local communities. and neighboring countries expressing security concerns.
Japanese nuclear regulators on Wednesday approved the water discharge plan submitted by the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, saying the methods are safe and the risks to the environment are minimal.
Japan last year announced plans to release the wastewater after treatment and dilution starting next year as a necessary step in decommissioning the plant. The water used to cool the damaged cores of three reactors has been continuously leaked and stored in hundreds of tanks.
China has been a staunch critic of the water release plan. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Thursday called the plan “a selfish act” and “unacceptable.”
Zhao said Japan should “find a proper way to dispose of radiation-contaminated water, instead of clinging and forcing the ocean discharge plan.”