The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan, China and South Korea are planning to strengthen an information sharing system for use in the event of a nuclear accident, Japanese government sources said Tuesday.
The plan has emerged following the nuclear crisis at a Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant in Fukushima Prefecture that occurred in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
The three countries are fine-tuning the framework for information sharing so that the plan can be included in joint documents to be issued at the end of a trilateral summit meeting set for May 21 and 22 in Tokyo, the sources said.
In connection with the discharge of water contaminated with low-level radiation from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, China, South Korea and other countries criticized Japan's disclosure of information as too slow and lacking transparency.
Tokyo will seek to reach an agreement with Beijing and Seoul on the tripartite information sharing system under which, when an emergency occurs in one country, the status of the accident and government countermeasures will be reported to the other two countries following the transmission of an urgent message.
Top leaders of the three countries will also likely look into the possibility of holding nuclear information conferences regularly, the sources said.
The envisioned regular meeting is an outgrowth of a similar conference held between Japan and South Korea in Tokyo in mid-April. The conferences are expected to highlight such issues as ways to secure safe operations of nuclear power plants, radiation measurement standards and food safety.
In a tripartite summit in December 2008, the three countries issued a joint statement on cooperation on disaster precautionary measures. In the forthcoming summit, they plan to renew this joint statement so that measures to deal with nuclear crises will be included, the sources said.
A joint declaration to be issued will also refer to disasters other than nuclear accidents and mention clearly what precautionary and disaster response measures should be taken jointly.
The declaration will likely call for improving the three countries' domestic systems for accepting emergency rescue units, food and other supplies and bolstering the communications and information sharing networks in the event of a disaster, the sources added.
(May. 11, 2011)