REMARKS: June 2 Meeting between PIF, Japan, and IAEA Experts on Fukushima

OPENING REMARKS
By Mr Sione Tekiteki, Director Governance and Engagement
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

First Meeting between PIF, Japan, and IAEA Experts regarding the Decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant
Thursday 2 June 2022, 8am – 10am (FJT), Virtual and SG meeting room

Delegates of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, of Japan,
Representatives of the Japan Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO),
Representatives from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),
Members of the Forum Panel of Independent Experts,

Bula Vinaka, malo e lelei and warm Pacific greetings.

Firstly, I wish to thank you for making the time to convene this important expert meeting. I know it was difficult to find a good time that works for all our time zones in Japan, Vienna, the US and the Pacific, so we’re very thankful to you all.

Let me also express our sincere appreciation to the Government of Japan for its continued commitment to engaging with us to address our queries and concerns on this important matter, in the spirit of cooperation and mutual understanding.

This meeting is an important step forward in our pursuit to better understand the science behind this highly complex and technical issue. I especially wish to recognise and thank the PIF Panel of Independent Experts for their tireless efforts and support.

I wish to recall the good meeting had between PIF Secretary General Puna and the Honourable Mr Yoshimasa Hayashi, Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, as part of the Honourable Ministers’ official visit to Fiji last month.

We re-emphasised the commitments of our Leaders in July 2021 and requested to defer any discharge until all our concerns are fully and transparently addressed.

We are pleased with Japan’s assurance that discharge will not happen if it is not safe to do so.

As you can appreciate, Pacific Island countries have many questions and concerns. We remain fully alert and conscious of the nuclear legacy issues that continue to affect our communities today.

We are also mindful of our legal obligations to keep our region free from nuclear pollution, including under our South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty as well as the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Transboundary harm and the inter-generational nature of this matter remain serious concerns, particularly for our small islands that depend on the ocean for our livelihoods.

As I have expressed before, we are unequivocal about the need for full access to data and evidence – in a clear and accessible form.

Since the proposed time of discharge in 2023 is fast approaching, this issue takes on even greater urgency for us.

I remain hopeful that we will move together with one key goal – to protect and secure our homes, our peoples, and our future in this shared home we call the Pacific.

Indeed, this is an opportunity for strong leadership in handling of radioactive materials and complex decommissioning, both in terms of actual decommissioning and public process and confidence.

With those brief remarks, I wish you all the best in your deliberations today. I thank you. –ENDS

 

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