Japan's Prime Minister Kishida affirms friendship, cooperation at ASEAN meeting

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has delivered an address to the leaders attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit meetings in Indonesia.

This year commemorates the 50th anniversary of friendship and cooperation between Japan and ASEAN. In his speech, Kishida expressed Japan's desire to seize the occasion and pass on the enduring friendship to the next generation.

During the meeting, Kishida is expected to have called for enhanced cooperation in a wide range of areas, including infrastructure investment and digital technology.

The prime minister is also believed to have explained that the treated and diluted water being released into the ocean from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is safe.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered a triple meltdown in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Water used to cool molten fuel at the plant has been mixing with rain and groundwater. The accumulated water is treated to remove most radioactive substances, but still contains tritium.

Before releasing the treated water into the sea, the plant's operator dilutes it to reduce tritium levels to about one-seventh of the World Health Organization's guidelines for drinking water.

China is staunchly opposed to the water's release. Observers are watching to see if Chinese Premier Li Qiang, who is also attending the ASEAN meetings, will comment on the matter.