Computer models predict a state of turmoil in the global seafood market following Japan’s decision to dump more than 1.25 million tons of treated radioactive wastewater from Fukushima into the Pacific Ocean. The plan, announced in 2021, is part of Japan’s efforts to decommission the power plant before its storage capacity reaches its limit this year.
Seafood occupies a crucial position in international trade, surpassing meat and dairy products in importance. According to the United Nations Comtrade database, world trade in seafood experienced a substantial increase from US$7.57 billion in 2009 to US$12.36 billion in 2019, marking a growth rate of 63. 2 %.
The release of nuclear wastewater from Fukushima has raised concerns about the safety of Japanese seafood on a global scale. The impact of the accident has influenced consumer preferences, leading 30 percent of respondents in an empirical study to reduce their seafood consumption. More than half of the participants expressed concern about the potential risks posed by Asian seafood due to the disaster.
Japan’s seafood trading partners such as China, Russia, India and South Korea had already imposed temporary food bans from districts surrounding Fukushima after the 2011 accident.
To assess the potential impact of Fukushima’s nuclear wastewater disposal on the global seafood trade, the study used import and export data from 26 countries, representing more than 92 per cent of the global seafood trade. The study classified countries trading seafood into three communities based on a community classification theory of complex networks.
The first community includes Ecuador, Italy, Morocco, Portugal and Spain; the second contains Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The third community comprises China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Russia, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam.
The model showed that China, South Korea, and the US maintain steady seafood trade among themselves. However, as a result of reduced seafood trade with Japan, the community group of two countries, including Denmark, France, and Norway, is likely to increase their seafood imports while decreasing their exports of seafood to Japan.
This change results in a decrease in imports and exports of seafood within the community group two countries. For example, Denmark, Norway, and France experience a decline in exports and imports of seafood between them.
The model also divided the world seafood market into two segments: the Japanese market and 25 other countries. It estimated that Japan’s seafood exports fell 19 percent in 2021, which is equivalent to USD $259 million.
The impact of public opinion on the Fukushima wastewater discharge varies from country to country, especially those with substantial seafood trade with Japan. The greater the amount of Japanese seafood imported by a country, the more negative public opinion is likely to be, according to the computer model.
The Japanese government plans to spend USD $260 million to purchase local seafood if domestic sales are affected by the Fukushima sewage discharge. The amount of reduction in Japanese seafood exports will depend on the acceptance of the seafood from the landing area by the local public.
Countries in other communities will expect to experience more significant reductions in their seafood exports to Japan compared to countries in the same community as Japan. The final disposal of nuclear wastewater from Fukushima will mainly affect countries in the same seafood trading community as Japan.
The release of nuclear wastewater from Fukushima has raised global concerns about the safety of Japanese seafood, affecting preferences and trade dynamics in the global seafood market. The full extent of its consequences remains to be seen as the situation unfolds.
This content is originally published under the Creative Commons license by 360info™. The Ground Report editorial team has made some changes to the original version.
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