Asia - Pacific

Hong Kong to ban seafood imports from Japan if it releases radioactive water

Tokyo has asked for current import restrictions to be removed, ensuring safety of Japanese food production

Necva Taştan  | 13.07.2023 - Update : 14.07.2023
Hong Kong to ban seafood imports from Japan if it releases radioactive water Tsukiji, Tokyo's legendary seafood market i ( Hakan Nural - Anadolu Agency )


Hong Kong warned Wednesday that if Japan discharges treated radioactive wastewater from its Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea, it will ban food imports from 10 Japanese territories. 

Secretary for Environment and Ecology Tse Chin-wan said the 10 affected territories are Tokyo, Fukushima, Chiba, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Gunma, Miyagi, Niigata, Nagano and Saitama, the Hong Kong Free Press reported.

Around 1.33 million cubic meters of groundwater, rainwater and water used for cooling have accumulated at the Fukushima plant.

Tse also invoked the precautionary principle in environmental law, stressing that in order to control potentially harmful activities, a ban will be implemented on all seafood imports (frozen, chilled, dried, etc.), processed and unprocessed seaweed products and sea salt.

He added that bans on fresh produce and milk from Fukushima and neighboring Chiba, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma will remain in place, which took effect after an incident in 2011.

A major nuclear accident occurred in March 2011 when a tsunami triggered by an earthquake disabled power and cooling systems for three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Meanwhile, during a meeting with Hong Kong government officials, Japan's Foreign Ministry requested that Hong Kong refrain from imposing stricter regulations on food imports from Japan.

“The safety of Japanese food products has been ensured, and it is strongly requested that Hong Kong's current import restrictions on Japanese food and agricultural products be removed at the earliest opportunity and that no further regulatory measures should be taken,” said the ministry.

However, Tse dismissed the notion that Hong Kong's policy on Japan's wastewater was influenced by Beijing, saying the decision prioritized the health and safety of Hongkongers.

"The Hong Kong government will observe for a period of time after the discharge begins to obtain more monitoring and scientific data to further examine the impact of the Fukushima nuclear wastewater discharge plan on food safety and review relevant measures from time to time," the ministry added.

China on Friday banned imports of food products, especially seafood, from Japan as Tokyo moves ahead with its plans to release treated radioactive wastewater into the sea.

Beijing’s move came after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that Japan’s release of the treated water from its crippled Fukushima plant will have a “negligible” impact on people and the environment.

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