Fukushima: China’s anger at Japan is fuelled by disinformation.



Rocks thrown at schools, threats of a boycott and hundreds of hostile phone calls – these are just some of the ways Chinese people have shown their displeasure with Japan in recent weeks.

The catalyst? Japan’s release of treated waste water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.

Scientists largely agree that the impact will be negligible, but China has strongly protested the release.

And disinformation has only fuelled fear and suspicion in China.

A report by a UK-based data analysis company called Logically, which aims to fight misinformation, claims that since January, the Chinese government and state media have been running a coordinated disinformation campaign targeting the release of the waste water.

As part of this, mainstream news outlets in China have continually questioned the science behind the nuclear waste water discharge.

The rhetoric has only increased since the water was released on 24 August, stoking public anger.

In recent days, a rock was thrown at a Japanese children’s school in Qingdao, while another school in Shandong had several eggs hurled into its compound. A brick was also thrown at the Japanese embassy in Beijing this week.

While there have been no reports of Japanese nationals in China being hurt, or companies being damaged, Tokyo has demanded that Beijing ensures the safety of its citizens.

Japan’s foreign ministry even warned its citizens in China to be cautious and to avoid speaking Japanese loudly in public.

“China always protects the safety and legitimate rights and interests of foreigners in China, in accordance with law,” China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in response to the demand, insisting that Beijing has considered the “so-called concerns of the Japanese side”.


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