Fukushima Nuclear Waste Water Disputes Continued: International Law in Japanese Court?

Research output: Other contributionAcademic


On 24th August 2023, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) started releasing the ALPS-treated waste water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean over a period of 30 years. As discussed on this blog before, here and here, the decision led to strong international responses from neighbouring States, such as China and South Korea, as well as reactions by several UN human rights bodies. One legal question currently attracting attention in several fora, is whether Article 4 of the Protocol to the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matters forbids the ‘dumping’ of the waste water into the sea, because it still contains radioactive matter, such as tritium.

This blog post draws attention to the interpretative controversy under the Londen Protocol by noting that the question is not only on the agenda of the Governing Bodies of the London Convention (LC) and its Protocol (LP), but also of the Fukushima District Court. In September, a group of Japanese citizens initiated a domestic lawsuit calling for an injunction to stop the release of the waste water. Their complaint is in large part based on personal rights under the constitution, but also invokes various international environmental law provisions, including Article 4 LC/LP. This post considers the interpretative controversy at hand, including whether the Japanese courts could play a role in addressing it.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputEJILTalk!
PublisherEuropean Journal of International Law
Publication statusPublished - 16-Jan-2024


  • international environmental law
  • dumping
  • disasters
  • nuclear waste
  • fukushima
  • Japan
  • litigation

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