On behalf of the 79 Members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), I stand in solidarity with the Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum to raise our deep concerns with the Government of Japan’s decision to continue with its imminent plan to release the radioactive contaminated cooling water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean in mid-2023, in the absence of comprehensive scientific information that would guarantee it will not cause harm to the ocean, environment, health and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific.

The OACPS recognises the important role of the Ocean as a key source of livelihood, cultural identity, and economic development for our 64 coastal Member States. This commitment is articulated in the OACPS Strategic Plan of Action for Fisheries and Aquaculture 2030, endorsed by the OACPS Ministers of Fisheries in Accra, Ghana in April 2022.

The Government of Japan has a duty under international law to prevent and control marine pollution and must therefore refrain from intentional and unilateral actions of dumping toxic radioactive cooling water, without regard to the health, wellbeing, livelihoods, environmental services, and national aspirations of other neighbouring States, and especially capacity constrained countries that are already at the frontline of the adverse impacts of climate change, sea level rise, biodiversity loss and ocean pollution.

As Secretary-General of the OACPS, I am calling on the Government of Japan to defer the release of the radioactive contaminated cooling water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean, until there is absolute certainty that the radioactive contaminated cooling water is safe and will cause no harm to the Ocean and its ecsosystems, and to the countries, communities and peoples whose lives and wellbeing depend upon it.

For the OACPS, this is not an issue for the Pacific Ocean alone. This is an issue that we all share as custodians of the Blue Planet. I am confident that sound political will and leadership shall prevail.