The 2-page handout

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Japan has started releasing radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean. The plant was hit by a huge earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. After the power plant was damaged, the power company stored radioactive water in 1,000 giant tanks. The water has been treated to reduce its radioactivity. It is now being slowly released into the Pacific Ocean through a long sea tunnel. Japan stated that the water is safe and would not harm the environment. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the water meets with international safety standards. It said there would be a "negligible radiological impact on people and the environment".

Many people in Japan, as well as countries near Japan, are angry that radioactive water is going into the Pacific. Local fishermen are worried they will not be able to sell their fish. China has already banned seafood from Fukushima and the capital city, Tokyo. China's foreign ministry called the release of the water a "wrongful decision" and asked Japan to stop. A spokesperson said: "Japan is putting its own self-interest over the long-term well-being of all humankind". Hong Kong is also worried about food safety. It said it would "immediately" stop importing some Japanese food products. South Korean activists have also protested, although Seoul understood that the water meets international standards.



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