China has taken a clear stance against the Japanese government's decision to release the radioactive contaminated waters of Fukushima into the Pacific Ocean, threatening sanctions which have found real application in the past few hours.
China has banned Japanese seafood following the release of sewage. Some media commentators believe this is a political move, especially as experts say there is no scientific evidence to support the seafood concerns given that the radiation released is so low.
As reported by the Japanese authorities and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the level of radioactivity in Fukushima's waters is lower than that of the waters that are normally released into rivers or into the sea by the numerous nuclear power plants in the People's Republic of China.
Bill Bishop, author of the Sinocism newsletter, and China observer, as reported by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, said Chinese authorities are applying economic sanctions such as a total embargo on all imports of fish and seafood from Japan.
A major percentage of Chinese imports from Japan, which also serve to cater to a host of Japanese restaurants in China. For health security reasons, it should gradually be extended to other countries including the same coastal areas of China.
Bishop believes this is the beginning of another period in which China and Japan will be fiercely pitted against each other on the global geopolitical arena, not just in the Asia-Pacific region. According to the Corriere della Sera article, Xi wants to hit the strategic rapprochement underway between Japan, the United States and South Korea sanctioned by the Camp David summit.
In 2011, an earthquake followed by a tsunami destroyed the nuclear power plant, destroying the cooling system and causing the reactor cores to overheat and the water inside the plant to be contaminated with highly radioactive material.
Japan is gradually releasing the wastewater into the ocean, with the green light from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The first release is one of four expected between now and the end of March 2024. The entire process will take at least 30 years.
The plant produces contaminated water, which is stored in more than 1,000 tanks. Japan says it needs the land occupied by the tanks to build new facilities for the safe decommissioning of the plant. Experts also expressed concern about the consequences of any collapse of the tanks in the event of a natural disaster.