Radiation Checks Thought Behind Fall in China Fish Imports from Japan

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Chinese customs building in Beijing

BEIJING — Chinese imports of fresh fish from Japan in July — excluding fillets — fell to 22.63 million yuan (around ¥450 million), marking a 53% drop from the previous month, according to Chinese customs data.

The figure, which represents a 54% decrease from the same month last year, reflects the strong impact of Beijing’s radioactive material inspections of Japanese aquatic products, initiated early July.

The import value of fresh bluefin tuna dropped by 64% from the previous month to 9.05 million yuan. And, excluding fresh fish, the import value of fresh scallops decreased by 97% to 110,000 yuan.

The import value of frozen fish, which has a longer shelf life, came to 36.77 million yuan, a decrease of only 13% from the previous month and 15% from the same month last year.

In the trade statistics released Friday, the total import value of fish imported from Japan came to 234.51 million yuan, a decrease of 34% from the previous month.

Beijing has suggested that the radioactive material inspections are a countermeasure against the planned ocean discharge of treated water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.

If the discharge goes ahead, China may further tighten its import restrictions.