South Korea dismisses request to lift Japanese seafood embargo

September 17, 2013

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Seoul on Sept. 16 rejected Tokyo’s request to lift a ban on Japanese seafood imports that was imposed over fears of radioactive water leaking at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, sources said.

An official of South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety told a visiting senior official of Japan’s Fisheries Agency that the embargo will remain to ensure the health and safety of the South Korean public.

The MFDS official also called on Japan to promptly provide information on the state of radioactive water at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, the sources added.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has said Seoul’s decision to ban the imports lacks sound scientific grounds.

South Korea’s embargo took effect on Sept. 9 and covers all marine products from eight prefectures in eastern Japan, including Miyagi and Fukushima, irrespective of their actual radioactive content.

Seoul announced the ban on Sept. 6, following reports that radioactive water was leaking from the site of the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant operator, said in July that contaminated groundwater was flowing into the sea. The government said an estimated 300 tons of radioactive water is reaching the ocean every day.

In August, TEPCO said that 300 tons of highly radioactive water had leaked from a storage tank on the plant premises.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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A bonito fisherman prepares the first catch of the season for the market at Onahama port in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, in May. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

A bonito fisherman prepares the first catch of the season for the market at Onahama port in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, in May. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • A bonito fisherman prepares the first catch of the season for the market at Onahama port in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, in May. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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