Disasters & Accidents

Hong Kong bans seafood imports from 10 Japanese prefectures

Hong Kong, Aug 23 (EFE).- Hong Kong will ban imports of seafood from 10 Japanese prefectures from Thursday in response to the dump into the Pacific ocean of treated radioactive water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Among the prefectures to which the veto will apply are Fukushima, Tokyo, Chiba, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Gunma, Miyagi, Niigata, Nagano and Saitama, Hong Kong said in a Tuesday night statement.

The prohibition will affect all sea products – live, refrigerated, frozen or dried – as well as sea salt and algae.

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee announced Tuesday his “firm opposition” to the Japanese plan to dump wastewater from the nuclear power plant, adding that he would instruct the authorities to activate restrictions.

Lee wrote Tuesday on his Facebook page that “the dumping plan is unprecedented, and will cause unavoidable risks to food safety and the environment.”

“The Hong Kong government should put in place measures with a view to protecting food safety and safeguarding the health of its citizens,” he said.

Environment and Ecology Secretary Tse Chin-wan said these “precautionary measures” are “necessary to guarantee food safety,” since “Tokyo has not offered a convincing explanation on how to address the risks that lay out his plan.”

Tokyo announced Tuesday the date of the first water discharge, three months after the International Atomic Energy Agency gave it its assessment of the spill plan, which it said conforms to agreed standards for this type of cases.

However, Japan’s plan has generated uneasiness in neighboring countries such as South Korea or China.

Beijing urged Japan to stop the spill Tuesday, and since July it has maintained, according to its officials, “a high degree of vigilance” over food imports from Japan.

Since 2011, China has maintained a ban on importing food from a dozen of the 47 prefectures that make up the island nation, including Fukushima, and “strictly” reviews all documentation of food arriving from other parts of Japan, especially in the case of products such as shellfish. EFE


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