China, H.K. to Toughen Import Restrictions on Japanese Food

Reuters file photo
Japanese imports of seafood are seen in a supermarket in Hong Kong, China, July 12.

BEIJING / HONG KONG (Jiji Press) — Beijing and Hong Kong plan to expand their import restrictions on Japanese food products following Tokyo’s decision to release treated water from the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant into the Pacific as early as Thursday.

Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, will ban imports of fishery products from Fukushima, Tokyo and eight other prefectures from Thursday.

Hong Kong leader John Lee said on social media that he has instructed related officials to expand the scope of import restrictions on Japanese fishery products, saying that his government’s top priority is to secure food safety and people’s health.

Macau, also a special administrative region of China, is expected to ban imports of fishery products, fruits and vegetables from Fukushima, Tokyo and eight other prefectures, according to Chinese media reports.

China and Hong Kong imposed import restrictions on food items from Fukushima and elsewhere following the March 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant.

Last month, Chinese customs authorities said they would strictly screen all Japanese food products. Since then, customs clearances for such products have been delayed in China.

According to the Chinese authorities, the country’s imports of fishery items from Japan in July dropped some 35% from the previous month to $32.38 million.

Also in Hong Kong, customs clearances of Japanese products have been disrupted.

Of Japan’s exports of agricultural, forestry and fishery products and food items in 2022, 36% went to mainland China and Hong Kong in total. China topped the list of Japan’s export destinations for such goods at ¥278.3 billion, followed by Hong Kong at ¥208.6 billion.

South Korea sees no scientific problem

SEOUL (Jiji Press) — South Korea has judged that Japan’s plan to release treated water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea poses no scientific or technical problems, a government official said at a press conference on Tuesday.

In light of the South Korean public’s persistent concern about the release, however, Park Ku-yeon, first deputy chief of South Korea’s Office for Government Policy Coordination, added that the South Korean government does not necessarily support the water release.

Park noted that South Korea will ask Japan to stop releasing the water if it is not carried out in accordance with the plan.