Japan Submits Rebuttal to WTO Over China’s Import Ban; Says Tritium a Tenth of China’s Qinshan Plant

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is seen on Aug. 24 after the release of diluted treated water started.

The government said Monday it had submitted a written rebuttal to the World Trade Organization, urging China to immediately withdraw its blanket ban on imports of Japanese marine products following the release of treated water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

In the document, the government expresses “regret” and calls China’s move “totally unacceptable.” Japan is “fully committed to taking all possible measures to ensure the safety” of the treated water discharge, it says.

The measures include “implementing robust monitoring and making publicly available the results of the monitoring in a timely and transparent manner,” according to the rebuttal.

It stresses that Japan has been conducting the monitoring “in a multilayered manner with the continued involvement of the International Atomic Energy Agency.” Since the tritium concentration level in the sea area is far below the discharge standard at 1,500 becquerels per litter, the document says, “no unusual situation has taken place to date.”

It also stresses that “numerous operating nuclear facilities around the world, including nuclear reactors in China, discharge more tritium on an annual basis than the tritium contained” in the water treated through the advanced liquid processing system.

For instance, the amount of tritium to be released annually from the Fukushima plant is “approximately one-tenth of the amount of tritium released from Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant in China,” it says.

Japan said China’s implementation of the ban “cannot be regarded as being based on scientific principle” since “it is required that all SPS measures be applied based on scientific principles” under the WTO’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, known as the SPS Agreement.

Also on Monday, Japan made a request for discussions based on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership pact, whose members include China. The pact stipulates that discussions should be held as soon as practicable.

Japan had issued a statement opposing to China’s notification to WTO on Thursday on its measures to suspend Japanese marine imports.