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Being an ally no excuse to wink at Japan's move: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2023-08-28 19:31
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ROK protesters shout slogans during a rally in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul on Tuesday. [LEE YOUNG-HO/SIPA USA]

The wide protests in the Republic of Korea before and after Japan began discharging nuclear-contaminated water from the tsunami-destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean should serve to prompt the Yoon Suk-yeol government to rethink its stance.

However, the Yoon government is not the only party that has chosen to put politics above science and facts. Although the Joe Biden administration has praised Japan for handling the matter in a transparent and responsible way, Japan's seafood exports to the United States have experienced the largest reduction over the past half a year among all countries, mainly due to US consumers' safety concerns.

The attitudes of the two governments apparently do not reflect the mainstream view of the public in the two countries.

It is a similar situation among other countries taking part in the US' "Indo-Pacific" strategy.

Apart from manipulating the International Atomic Energy Agency to give the nod to its water discharge plan, Japan had also done tremendous work from March to August to take advantage of multilateral platforms, particularly the G7 Hiroshima summit, following which a de facto Quad summit was also held, and the recent Camp David summit, to lobby other countries to at least seal their mouths over its toxic water discharge arrangements.

The words of Washington and Tokyo on how they care about the well-being of people in Southeast Asia and the Pacific island countries still ring in people's ears. But the outcries of these nations against the move of Japan, which treats the ocean as a sewer, has clearly fallen on the deaf ears of the honeymouthed US and Japanese politicians.

It is a shame that having pledged generous indemnities to Japanese fishers for their losses as long as the water discharge lasts, the Fumio Kishida government has not mentioned any compensation for the fishing communities and related industries of other countries that will also be impacted by its selfish decision.

It is the collective silence of the US-led club that has not only emboldened Tokyo to ignore the outcries of neighboring countries but also encouraged it to go so far as to level unfounded countercharges against the justified concerns raised by China, and other non-US club countries, over its irresponsible and dangerous move.

By smearing other countries for criticizing its move, it is trying to muffle any opposition to its wrongdoing.

Nuclear security, nuclear-related emergency responses, food safety, protection of the marine environment and other environmental issues, all are brandished by the US-led club as priority safety issues calling for consultation and cooperation. However, none of the club's members have taken a firm position in opposition to Japan's irresponsible and risky move.

Their unwillingness to stand against the US on the issue will nail them to history's pole of shame.

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