Ukrainian Ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky said Friday he hopes his country's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, can attend the upcoming Group of Seven summit talks in May in Hiroshima as the "voice of the country," amid increasing fears that Russia could use nuclear weapons on its neighbor.

Korsunsky told a press conference in Tokyo that the vast majority of Ukrainians are willing to fight against Russia even in the face of the nuclear threat, adding that "we have to win or disappear" as Russia's war with the country drags into its second year.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky speaks at a press conference in Tokyo on March 10, 2023. (Kyodo)

The war has also shone a spotlight on Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe's largest nuclear facility, which fell into Russian control in the early phase of the invasion.

Russian attacks near the plant have repeatedly led to a temporary loss of power supply to the facility, heightening concerns about a serious accident in the country that suffered the world's worst nuclear disaster in 1986 in Chernobyl.

Speaking on the eve of the 12th anniversary of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Korsunksy said nuclear power is an "important source of energy" and he saw no need to decommission all nuclear power plants because of the two major accidents.

The ambassador voiced support for Japan's plan to discharge treated water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant into the nearby sea, saying the plan has been "managed in a proper and scientifically justified way" and "is very carefully designed not to harm the environment."

The plan, for which Japan will seek endorsement from G-7 nations when it hosts a meeting of the group's energy ministers in April, has drawn concerns from neighboring countries such as China and South Korea.

Vast amounts of water used to continually cool melted fuel and fuel debris have been accumulating in over 1,000 storage tanks at the coastal plant. With the tanks nearing capacity, the government and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., are set to discharge the water into the Pacific Ocean beginning around this spring or summer.

The government says the treated water, which contains low-level concentrations of tritium, will be diluted with seawater so the levels will be lower than the World Health Organization's tritium limit in drinking water. But local fishing communities remain opposed to the plan, while China has urged Japan to "properly handle this matter in a responsible manner."

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