Environment ministers of Japan, China, S.Korea to cooperate over global issues

The environment ministers of Japan, China and South Korea have adopted a joint statement that pledges cooperation on challenges such as climate change and marine environment conservation.

The Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting began in the Japanese city of Nagoya on Friday.

At the opening of the plenary session on Saturday, Japan's Environment Minister Ito Shintaro stressed the safety of the ongoing release of treated and diluted water from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean.

Ito said that detailed analyses of water samples show the concentration of tritium is far lower than the standard set by the World Health Organization for drinking water.

He added that Japan has confirmed that the discharge has had no harmful impacts on human beings or the environment.

China's Ecology and Environment Minister Huang Runqiu called for thorough consultations with other stakeholders, including neighbors, regarding the release, which he said affects the marine environment and people's health.

In a joint statement, the ministers confirmed that they are facing an unprecedented global crisis, such as climate change and biodiversity loss.

They agreed to cooperate on global issues and protect the marine environment within a framework designed to tackle issues hand-in-hand with concerned countries.

The ministers also agreed to promote the trilateral cooperation for major environment meetings, including the upcoming United Nations climate conference COP28.

After the plenary session, Ito said the meeting has produced a significant result as he could exchange candid opinions in person with the Chinese and South Korean ministers.

He noted that he explained to the ministers Japan's commitment to providing the international community with information in a highly transparent manner.

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.