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Salt and Godzilla are new elements in the Fukushima conflict

Updated 13:30 | Posted at 11:14 am

The great powers’ dispute over cooling water at Fukushima is heating up faster than ever. Japan tutors the Chinese ambassador, while wild rumors have mounting repercussions.

For example, store shelves are being emptied of regular table salt. And the old movie monster Godzilla gets a new teaser life.

Old nuclear coolant from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan began leaking into the Pacific Ocean last week. Radiation levels are so low, this procedure has been approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

But the reaction of many in East Asia is one of anxiety, and in China in particular, an explosion of fear and anger.

– We have countless alerts about harassment that seems to be coming from China, for example stones being thrown at the Japanese Embassy and Japanese schools, says Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo.

– We have summoned the Chinese ambassador today and strongly urged him to ask the Chinese to act calmly and responsibly.

Heap up the salt

The harassment must be, among other things, “bus summons”. The mock calls have since been posted on Chinese platforms, commented on or appreciated in some cases by tens of thousands of users.

Over the weekend, Japanese authorities issued a recommendation to citizens in China to keep a low profile in public and not to speak Japanese aloud.

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The topic is also affecting trade, with the focus on food since China halted all fish imports from Japan.

An unexpected side effect is that common salt is now being stockpiled in various places in China, according to media reports. The explanation appears to lie partly in unwarranted fears that future shipments of salt from the Pacific might “contaminate” Fukushima’s waters, and partly in an unwarranted belief that iodized salt can protect against radiation sickness.

One of China’s state salt suppliers has come out and called for calm. The Hong Kong regional government stresses that there is plenty of salt, so there is no reason for panic buying.

“their atomic shock”

But once something starts popping up online, it’s hard to stop. Another example is flyers on the theme of Godzilla, the classic Japanese movie monster.

“By releasing the nuclear-contaminated waters of Fukushima into the sea, Japan is unleashing Godzilla, the embodiment of its nuclear shock, on the world,” reads a video shared by Xinhua and the Chinese Consul General in Belfast, among others. , Zhang Meifang, formerly of X, Twitter.