China Starts Blanket Checks on Japanese Seafood

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Visitors are seen in front of the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, China May 22, 2020.

BEIJING (Jiji Press) — The Chinese government has started blanket radiation checks on Japanese fishery products as part of import restrictions, people familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

The move comes as Beijing strongly opposes Japan’s plan to release into the sea treated water from the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

China does not conduct blanket radiation checks on agricultural products imported from Japan, a personal familiar with the matter said. But Beijing could tighten checks on them in an effort to increase pressure on Japan.

Beijing started its full-scale radiation checks of Japanese seafood after it announced a decision to strengthening quarantine controls against Japan on July 7, according to a Japanese exporter of fishery products.

As it takes two weeks to one month until radiation check results became available, it is difficult to keep chilled seafood fresh.

The Japanese exporter complained that the radiation checks are an effective embargo and has suspended shipments to China since last week.

China was the largest importer of Japanese agricultural, forestry and fishery products and food in 2022. Some restaurants in Shanghai have started halting the serving of sashimi due to the absence of fresh fish.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has said that Japan’s plan to release the treated water is consistent with international safety standards. China, however, has strongly criticized the plan for discharging contaminated water.