Prime Minister Rabuka today extended a heartfelt apology to the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders Caucus for the statement he made regarding the discharge of treated water from the Fukushima Plant in Japan, following his review of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report.
Rabuka while addressing the MSG Leaders Caucus in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, clarified his stance.
He explained to officials who attended this morning’s MSG Caucus that his earlier statement was not intended to oppose the collective views of the MSG nations and underlined that his statement was a representation of a sovereign nation’s perspective, based on scientific knowledge.
“I want to make it very clear that I was not opposing your collective views. I issued that statement as a sovereign nation’s leader’s view based on the science.”
Acknowledging his previous misalignment with the spirit of the Port Vila Accord, which was deliberated during the MSG Meeting in Port Vila, Rabuka expressed his regret for any misunderstanding caused.
“I did not mean to work against the grain of the Port Vila Accord which was discussed at the MSG Meting in Port Vila.”
The leaders had collectively agreed to adopt a precautionary approach, promoting open dialogue and information sharing between the Pacific Island Forum’s (PIF) Panel of Experts, the IAEA, and Japanese Experts, specifically concerning the issue of discharging ALPS nuclear wastewater.
Additionally, the leaders urged Japan not to proceed with this discharge until conclusive scientific evidence unequivocally demonstrated its safety.
Up until this point, MSG member nations had refrained from taking individual action on this matter, aligning themselves with the broader PIF countries in accepting the IAEA’s offer to establish an elevated dialogue mechanism with the PIF, as well as a permanent monitoring presence at Fukushima.
PIF countries have also collectively agreed to include the Fukushima issue as a standing item on the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) agenda.
The apology and the clarifications provided by the Prime Minister reflect a commitment to solidarity, cooperation, and informed decision-making among the MSG member nations and the leaders are dedicated to maintaining the safety and well-being of their nations and the Pacific region at large.