S. Korea to hold briefings to ease anxiety over Fukushima water

South Korea's fisheries ministry has said it will hold briefings for the public to explain seafood safety, amid Japan's plan to release into the sea treated radioactive water from the disaster-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The Oceans and Fisheries Ministry said Monday the briefings will be held across the country from Tuesday to late June to provide scientific information on the treated water at the Fukushima Daiichi plant that Japan is planning to discharge starting in the summer.

Song Sang Keun, vice fisheries minister, said, "(The ministry) plans to meet face-to-face with the public, especially those working in the fisheries industry, to explain how safe our marine products are, based on scientific and objective facts."

"There is no way that inappropriate marine products will get to the table of our people," Song added.

He also emphasized that the ministry wants to make efforts to prevent seafood consumption from slowing down due to incorrect information about the treated water.

Prime Minister Han Duck Soo said during a parliamentary session on Monday that the government may have to take legal action in cases in which the fisheries industry is negatively affected by the spread of false information about the safety of seafood.

Lawmakers of the main opposition Democratic Party have accused the administration of President Yoon Suk Yeol of misleading the public about the impact of the treated water on health and the ocean environment.

Since the nuclear crisis triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan in March 2011, vast amounts of water contaminated in the process of cooling melted reactor fuel has accumulated at the plant, mixing with rain and ground water.

The plan to release the treated water has met strong opposition from local fishermen as well as South Korea and China.

About 1.33 million tons of treated water was stored on the plant's premises as of late April, approaching the total capacity of 1.37 million tons, according to the plant's operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

© Kyodo News