KYODO NEWS KYODO NEWS – Jul 20, 2023 – 18:44 | World, All
China’s blanket radiation testing on seafood imports from Japan introduced earlier this month is estimated to cause some 100 million yen ($720,000) in damage to five Japanese companies, with the losses expected to widen, sources familiar with the bilateral relationship said Thursday.
The five firms had fresh fish and other imported items kept in southern China for prolonged procedures that require about two weeks for chilled seafood and about one month for frozen ones to clear customs, the sources said.
The newly implemented testing is seen as a move to pressure Tokyo over its plan to begin releasing treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea from this summer.
It has prompted some businesses in China to forego importing seafood from Japan and find alternative procurement sources. The Japanese government has been collecting information on possible damage from the step and discussing how to address the issue, the sources said.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno acknowledged Wednesday that some of Japan’s seafood exports to China have been stopped at Chinese customs. He stressed at a press conference that the safety of Japanese food “has been scientifically proven.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning defended the tighter control of seafood imports from Japan, saying at a press conference Thursday, “We must be responsible for the health of the people and the marine environment. It is justified to take relevant measures.”
The blanket testing began shortly after Chinese customs authorities said in a July 7 statement that they will “maintain a high degree of vigilance” and “take all necessary measures in a timely manner according to the development of the situation.” Beijing vehemently opposes the planned Fukushima water discharge.
In 2022, Japan’s seafood exports to mainland China stood at 87.1 billion yen, with strong demand for such items as bonito, tuna and scallops, according to the country’s farm ministry.
Since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident triggered by a major earthquake and tsunami, China has banned food imports from Fukushima and nine other Japanese prefectures. If the water discharge begins, Beijing could further tighten controls on food imports from Japan.
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KYODO NEWS KYODO NEWS – 1 hour ago – 12:27 | All, World, Japan
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