Japan insists that the discharge is safe, a view backed by the UN atomic agency, but China banned all seafood imports from its neighbour, accusing it of treating the sea like a “sewer”.
Nuclear plant operator TEPCO said last week that levels of radioactive tritium in tested seawater samples near the plant in northeast Japan were within safe limits.
The first phase of water release ended on Sep 11, with no date yet set for further discharges – expected to continue over decades.
France has an interest in boosting nuclear power, as it generates around 70 per cent of its electricity with the technology.
It hopes to replace its ageing fleet of reactors with new plants to meet targets for reducing greenhouse emissions but has clashed with other European countries over the plans.
Like other Western capitals, Paris also hopes to weigh more heavily in the Asia-Pacific region to counteract China’s influence.
“China has been running an unprecedented disinformation campaign” about the wastewater discharges, Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS) expert Antoine Bondaz wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
Japan “needs more forthright support given the wave of lies spread by Beijing,” he added, calling France’s statement “necessary and positive”.