Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan sampled seafood and spoke with employees at Tokyo’s Toyosu fish market on Thursday to assess the impact of China’s prohibition on Japanese seafood in response to the release of treated radioactive wastewater from the demolished Fukushima Daiichi plant into the ocean.
The discharge of treated effluent began last week and is anticipated to last decades. In response to opposition from Japanese fishing groups and adjacent nations, China promptly prohibited all imports of Japanese seafood.
Since the discharge of purified water, one of the marine business owners informed Kishida that sales of his scallops, which are primarily exported to China, have decreased by 90%.
After his visit to the market, Kishida told reporters, “We will compile measures to support the fisheries operators.” “We will also call on China to eliminate its trade restrictions that lack scientific justification.”
Even before the water release and its prohibition, China had increased testing of Japanese fisheries products, resulting in lengthy delays at customs. According to the Japanese Fisheries Agency, the measure has affected the prices and sales of seafood from as far away as Hokkaido.
Officials have urged Japanese consumers to consume more scallops in an effort to bolster exporters, while also seeking new export markets in Europe and the United States.
Officials and the operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, report that all seawater and fish sampling data since the release has been well below the set radioactivity safety limits.
Japan Contemplates WTO Action Amid Trade Dispute with China
Wednesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno alluded to the possibility of bringing the case before the World Trade Organization. He stated that Japan had previously raised concerns regarding China’s trade restrictions without a scientific basis and that “Japan will consider various options while continuing to work within the WTO framework to decide necessary steps.” Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi emphasized the significance of communication.
Tourism has been affected by China’s prohibition on Japanese seafood imports. Transport and Tourism Minister Tetsuo Saito stated that Chinese group tourist cancellations and inquiries about food safety in Japan have increased and that officials are evaluating the situation.
According to officials and reports, thousands of hoax phone calls from China have targeted government offices in Fukushima, the operator of the nuclear facility, and the Foreign Ministry. Many of the callers exclaimed in Chinese, while others screamed “stupid” and cursed.
Even in Japan, ill will has been on the rise.
In Tokyo, a sign at a Japanese-style bar warning “the Chinese” that it serves only cuisine from Fukushima drew the attention of a Chinese V-tuber, who reported discrimination to the police. The proprietor altered the sign but declined to speak.
Since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that destroyed the facility and caused meltdowns in three of its reactors, radioactive effluent has accumulated. The 1.34 million tons of water are contained in approximately 1,000 containers and continue to accumulate due to leakage and the use of water for cooling.
The government and TEPCO assert that discharging the water into the ocean is unavoidable because the reservoirs will reach capacity early next year and there will be a need for space at the facility for decades-long decommissioning work.
Source: ABC News