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Fukushima: China extends ban on some Japanese foods over sewage disposal plan

Fukushima: China extends ban on some Japanese foods over sewage disposal plan

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Fukushima nuclear plant in February 2021

China says it will maintain a ban on some Japanese food imports because of the plan to release water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean.

China’s customs administration said it would also carry out radiation tests on food from other parts of the country.

South Korea also maintains a similar ban but says the proposed version meets international standards.

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency said on Wednesday it would have a “minimal impact” on the environment.

Japan’s nuclear regulator also gave its approval on Friday.

In 2011, a tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake flooded three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. It is considered the worst nuclear disaster in the world since Chernobyl.

More than 150,000 people have been evacuated from the exclusion zone around the plant, which remains in place. Factory shutdowns have also begun, but the process could take decades.

Meanwhile, the equivalent of about 500 Olympic-sized swimming pools of water has accumulated at the nuclear facility, according to the Reuters news agency.

Water storage space is running out, but plans initiated by the Japanese government and the facility’s operator, Tepco, to release the water into the sea have drawn regional criticism — the harshest from China.

“Chinese customs will maintain a high level of vigilance,” said the Chinese customs authorities.

Japan’s foreign ministry said it was examining possible measures in response, according to an unnamed official who spoke to AFP.

Speaking in Tokyo on Friday, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi told Reuters he was “very confident” in his agency’s assessment of Japan’s proposal.

He added that his organization did not take sides and that its findings were based on scientific evidence.

South Korea, which has previously criticized the plan, said it was continuing to ban seafood imports from Fukushima and some other Japanese prefectures.

Local fishing communities in Japan have also expressed concerns about the plan and its impact on their livelihoods.

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Fukushima fishermen are concerned about the nuclear water release plan