Japan, China Discuss Fukushima Water, Kishida Raises Military Concerns

Japan, China Discuss Fukushima Water, Kishida Raises Military Concerns

Japan and China Agree to Accelerate Talks on Fukushima Water Discharge

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese Premier Li Qiang met in Seoul on May 26th and agreed to accelerate working-level discussions over the discharge of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. This issue has been a source of tension between the two countries.

Kishida urged Li to lift the import ban on Japanese marine products that China imposed after the water release began in August 2022. Li, in turn, requested the establishment of an international monitoring system for the treated water.

The two leaders also confirmed the expansion of high-level economic dialogue and personal exchanges. They expressed their commitment to making progress on various issues and concerns to promote mutually beneficial strategic relations and build constructive and stable ties.

This was the first official meeting between Kishida and Li. Their previous encounter in Indonesia in September was a brief, 15-minute conversation without seating.

During their hour-long meeting in Seoul, Kishida expressed concerns over China's increased military activities around the disputed Senkaku Islands and other areas. He also demanded the removal of a buoy that China installed in Japan's exclusive economic zone.

Kishida also mentioned Japan's close monitoring of recent military developments, including the Chinese military exercises around Taiwan. Li reiterated that the Taiwan issue is a core interest for China.

On the economic front, Li emphasized the importance of collaboration between the two countries to maintain stable supply chains and the global free trade system.

Kishida also met with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in Seoul on the same day. They agreed to further elevate bilateral relations in the lead-up to the 60th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties next year. They also discussed the North Korean issue and agreed to strengthen cooperation between their countries and with the United States.