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Reaction to Japan's release of water from Fukushima nuclear plant

The tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is seen from Namie Town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan

(Reuters) -Here are some reactions to Japan's release of treated radioactive water from its destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Thursday.

WEN-TI SUNG, POLITICAL SCIENTIST, AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY:

"When dealing with economic slowdown at the grassroots and (the) centrifugal tendency among lying-flat officialdom, nationalism is the most convenient tool to rally the society and public health the most legitimate cause to rally around.

"For public health, issues like the invisible and foreign threat of radiation is one of the few that cut across class, geographic, and ethnic lines."

ON SIGNIFICANCE FOR CHINA-JAPAN TIES:

"The China-Japan thaw will have to wait.

"Now that Japan and South Korea are able to put down their differences to form regular trilateral talks with the United States, China is in no hurry to break the ice with Japan.

"That also means Chinese foreign policy continues to work at cross-purposes. Even as China tries to re-open itself up to the world, the circle of countries it's actively welcoming may be getting smaller."

WU XINBO, DEAN, INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, FUDAN UNIVERSITY, SHANGHAI:

"China's primary concern is mistrust regarding Japan's handling of the Fukushima wastewater. South Korea's shift in stance has political considerations, aimed at improving relations with Japan.

"The impact on Sino-Japanese relations mainly revolves around its economic implications.

"China's suspension of imports from Japan, along with the potential political fallout, indicates that China is focused on its legitimate concerns and perceives Japan's decision as irresponsible."

Chong Ja Ian, political scientist, National University of Singapore:

"I would think there is the baseline level of suspicion that the People's Republic of China (PRC) holds for Japan to begin, so they are likely to read Japanese actions more negatively.

"Then there is the continuing effort to paint Japan as a negative force regionally and internationally.

"This seems part of the features of PRC-Japan rivalry, which is of course entangled with PRC-U.S. competition, given Tokyo’s close alliance relationship with Washington."

KAZUKO TAKEO, 72, VISITOR TO FUKUSHIMA FROM JAPAN'S CHIBA REGION:

"I think the water release is hard for people from around here, but I also think it's hard to leave the current situation (of accumulating water) as it is forever."

TOKYO PROTESTER JUN IIZUKA, 71:

"The release of contaminated water will continue for the next 30 to 40 years. The Fukushima nuclear disaster is not over.

"This time only around 1% of the water will be released. From now on, we will keep fighting for a long time to stop the long-term discharge of contaminated water."

TOKYO PROTESTER AND COLLEGE STUDENT YUKA IREI, 21:

"It is said that the decommissioning (of the nuclear plant) won't be completed until 2051. I am 21 years old now, so in 2051, I'll be 49 years old.

"By that time I'll have my own child and maybe a few years later, I'll have a grandchild as well. In order to pass on a safe and secure society to the next generation, I would like to choose a method that I will not regret."

TOKYO PROTESTER KEIKO KISEI, 72:

"I think there should have been many other methods, such as storing the contaminated water in a tank, instead of releasing it into the ocean.

"However, they chose to discharge the water and cause trouble to the world. It's absolutely unacceptable."

KOREAN PROTEST ORGANISER MIN EUN-JU IN PORT CITY OF BUSAN:

"Busan citizens are here today to prevent the destruction of the marine ecosystem and food. We started this boat campaign to build international pressure as much as possible for our safety and food."

KOREAN ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST PARK JONG-KWON:

"I'm furious about (Japan's) sudden announcement, and it's baffling. I'm even more angry about our president, Yoon Suk Yeol, who has been silent about this.

"I live down by the sea, so I like fish. However, I will reduce the number of fish I eat, but I'm more worried about whether we should really let our children eat seafood."

HONG KONG ACTIVIST ELAINE CHEUNG, 64:

"Residents will feel a bit panicked, because when nuclear wastewater is discharged into the ocean, you know that seawater doesn't just stay still; it keeps flowing continuously. So, it will flow to the Atlantic and the Pacific.

"Even the local fishermen in Japan, going out to catch fish, as well as the marine ecosystem, will be affected to some extent, posing a danger. In fact, their actions this time in Japan are very absurd."

HONG KONG PROTESTER JACAY SHUM, 73, WHO HELD PICTURE DEPICTING CHIEF OF GLOBAL NUCLEAR WATCHDOG RAFAEL GROSSI AS THE DEVIL:

"Japan's actions in discharging contaminated water are very irresponsible, illegal, and immoral. No one can prove that the nuclear waste and materials are safe. They are completely unsafe."

RAFAEL MARIANO GROSSI, DIRECTOR GENERAL, IAEA:

"IAEA experts are there on the ground to serve as the eyes of the international community and ensure that the discharge is being carried out as planned consistent with IAEA safety standards.

"Through our presence, we contribute to generating the necessary confidence that the process is carried out in a safe and transparent way."

CHINA'S FOREIGN MINISTRY:

"The disposal of contaminated water in Fukushima is a major nuclear safety issue with cross-border implications, and is by no means a private matter for Japan alone.

"Since the peaceful use of nuclear energy by mankind, there has been no precedent for man-made discharge of water polluted by nuclear accidents into the ocean, and there is no accepted disposal standard.

"The government of Japan has not proved the legitimacy of the decision to discharge the sea, the long-term reliability of the clean-up device for the contaminated water, the true accuracy of the data on the contaminated water, the harmlessness of the marine environment and human health, the completeness and effectiveness of the monitoring programme, and the full consultation with stakeholders."

HAN DUCK-SOO, PRIME MINISTER, SOUTH KOREA:

"What's important now is whether Japan, as it promised to the international community, strictly follows the scientific standards and transparently provides information.

"Today, our government expects and urges the Japanese government to transparently and responsibly disclose information during the release process that will continue for the next 30 years."

MARK BROWN, PRIME MINISTER OF COOK ISLANDS AND CHAIRMAN OF THE PACIFIC ISLANDS BLOC*:

"I believe that the discharge meets international safety standards," he said, adding that the region may not agree on the "complex" issue.

"This is a demanding situation for all of us, and we need to assess the science."

* Comments made prior to initial water release

(Reporting by Reuters bureaus; Writing by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)