Speaking at the IAEA General Assembly on Monday, South Korea's First Vice Minister of Science and Information and Communication Technology Moon Mi-ok slammed Japan over reports it was planning to release radioactive wastewater from Fukushima into the sea.
The minister said that, if the highly-contaminated water is discharged, it would shift from a domestic Japanese problem to a global one.
"However, Japanese government officials recently started to state that marine discharges are inevitable as a way to deal with Fukushima contaminated water. In case when it is discharged into ocean management of Fukushima contaminated water is no longer Japan's domestic problem, but a grave international issue that can affect the whole global marine environment."
She also urged the IAEA to work closely with Japan in dealing with the contaminated water, just as they have been in regards to the Fukushima accident.
But the South Korean official said what's more important, is Tokyo's role in taking responsibility for the water.
"What we need the most is that Japan should take some substantive and transparent measures and actions. This also (needs to) be done for health, safety and environment protection."
In response to South Korea's warnings, the Japanese Ambassador to the IAEA insisted the decision to release the contaminated wastewater hasn't been reached yet.
"The remarks made by a former member of cabinet were expressed as his personal opinion. In fact, the governmental subcommittee on handling (inaudible) water has been examining the issue in a comprehensive manner, including countermeasures for the reputational damage. The committee has not reached any concrete conclusion."
Japan has been storing contaminated water from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, but could run out of space by 2022.
Concerns are rising that Tokyo could release the water into the Pacific, a move that could trigger an environmental disaster.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.