KYODO NEWS KYODO NEWS – Jul 12, 2023 – 20:55 | World, All, Japan
Hong Kong’s Secretary for Environment and Ecology Tse Chin-wan said Wednesday the city will ban seafood imports from 10 Japanese prefectures if the country goes through with a plan to release treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.
Tse told reporters the city government would immediately ban Japanese seafood imports, including frozen, refrigerated, dried, or otherwise preserved aquatic products, as well as seaweed and sea salt, once the Fukushima water discharge begins.
File photo taken in April 2019 shows seafood at a fishing port in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan. (Kyodo)
Hong Kong is Japan’s second-largest market for agricultural and fisheries exports, with mainland China being the largest. The 10 prefectures are Tokyo, Fukushima, Chiba, Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Miyagi, Niigata, Nagano and Saitama.
Japan’s Foreign Ministry held a briefing session Wednesday for the Hong Kong government over the planned Fukushima water release and urged that no further regulatory measures be taken.
Japanese officials also provided the International Atomic Energy Agency’s comprehensive assessment of the plan released last week and called on the Hong Kong government to make decisions based on scientific evidence, according to the ministry.
The IAEA report concluded the ocean discharge will have “a negligible radiological impact on people and the environment.”
Hong Kong government representatives including No. 2 leader Eric Chan agreed with the Japanese side that communication on the matter should be maintained.
On Tuesday, Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee emphasized the importance of maintaining food safety in the city, saying the semiautonomous territory’s government would take “decisive action” to protect public health.
“The catering industry will be affected, but I’m sure that they will understand that we are forced to make a decision because of this unprecedented exercise,” he added.
Mainland China has banned food imports from Fukushima and nine other prefectures since 2011, when a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
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