Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister James Marape has issued a statement supporting Japan's intentions to dump 1.3 million tonnes of treated nuclear wastewater from the damaged Fukushima Daichii nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean over the next three decades.
In a statement released late Monday, Marape said the decision is based on information from available scientific studies and discussions with former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshida Suga and the current Fumio Kishida.
"I have been advised by both leaders that the release of the water is being conducted in accordance with all standards - both domestic and international - to comply with the highest safety regulations for human health and the health of the environment," Marape said.
"Both leaders have assured me that Japan would never allow the discharge of the water until and unless safety has been confirmed by scientific evidence," he said.
The nuclear wastewater dump is a crucial part of Japan's plans to decommission the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant which was destroyed in 2011 by the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake.
Japan is in the process of decommissioning the plant and says the move is necessary to avoid any further complications.
But environmental groups have argued that the move sets a bad precedence and poses serious danger to Pacific communities who depend on the ocean for their livelihoods.
The head of the Papua New Guinean NGO, the Center for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR), Peter Bosip said Marape's statement goes against the principles of environmental protection.
"We have enough manmade disasters," Bosip said.
"PNG should not support Japan's decision to release radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean. It will be a disaster for PNG and Pacific people," he said.
Marape's statement contradicts an earlier call by PNG's environment minister Jelta Wong urging Japan not to go ahead with its plans.
In March, Wong called for Pacific Islands Forum leaders to sign a "a joint petition to stop the dumping of nuclear wastewater into our ocean".