KYODO NEWS KYODO NEWS – Aug 31, 2023 – 19:54 | All, Japan, 3/11 Fukushima
Prime Minster Fumio Kishida on Thursday announced an additional rescue package for the fishery industry following China’s import ban on Japanese seafood due to the release of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The support measures include steps to expand domestic consumption and ensure the sustainable production of seafood, responses to mitigate reputational damage, strategies to find new overseas markets, and provision of swift and thorough compensation.
The government will make efforts to “diversify” seafood sales channels instead of depending on sales in “specific countries” so that Japan will not rely heavily on China, Kishida said at his office, while calling on Beijing to engage in discussions to evaluate scientific evidence of the environmental impact of the water release.
Earlier in the day, Kishida visited Tokyo’s Toyosu fish market to exchange views with seafood wholesalers about the potential adverse effects of import bans imposed by China and Hong Kong, both of which are primary markets for the Japanese fishery sector.
One of the wholesalers told Kishida that sales to Hong Kong have plunged around 90 percent due to the water discharge. Hong Kong, a semiautonomous region of China, has banned seafood imports from Tokyo, Fukushima and eight other prefectures in Japan.
So far, the Kishida administration has set up two separate funds, one amounting to 30 billion yen ($205 million) and the other 50 billion yen, to deal with any damaging rumors and to assist people engaged in the fishery industry in maintaining their businesses.
After visiting the market, Kishida told reporters that he had been asked by the wholesalers to help broaden their sales routes, find new export destinations and negotiate with the Chinese government to address the issue.
“We will strongly demand the lifting of import ban, which is not based on scientific grounds,” Kishida said, referring to China.
Last Thursday, Japan started releasing treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean despite opposition from local fisheries and China. The plant was wrecked in the wake of a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
Tokyo and Beijing have been at loggerheads over the safety of the discharged water, further straining their already unstable bilateral relations. China has urged Japan to stop releasing what it calls “nuclear-contaminated water” into the sea.
Japan has claimed the water is safe, given that most radionuclides, except tritium, are removed through a purification process. But China has levied a blanket import ban on Japanese fishery products since the discharge began.
In 2022, Japan’s exports of agricultural and fishery products as well as processed food to China totaled 278.2 billion yen, with exports to Hong Kong at 208.6 billion yen, government data showed. Fishery items amounted to 87.1 billion yen and 75.5 billion yen, respectively.
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KYODO NEWS KYODO NEWS – 4 minutes ago – 09:14 | World, All, Japan
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