S. Korea bans fish from NE Japan on radiation fears
By Eun-Young Jeong ,APSEOUL -- South Korea announced Friday that it was banning all fish imports from along Japan's northeastern coast because of what officials called growing public worry over radioactive water leaking into the Pacific Ocean near the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.
September 7, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
Fisheries in Fukushima prefecture (state) are nearly all closed, and fish caught in nearby prefectures are sold on the Japanese market only after tests have shown them to be safe for consumption.
However, South Korea's ban applies to a total of eight prefectures with a combined coastline of more than 700 kilometers, regardless of whether the fish pass safety standards or not.
The South Korean government made the move because of insufficient information from Tokyo about what steps will be taken to address the leakage of contaminated water from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, according to a statement by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant's operator, acknowledges that tons of radioactive water has been seeping into the Pacific from the plant for more than two years after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami led to meltdowns at three reactors at the plant. Recent leaks from tanks storing radioactive water used to cool the reactors have added to fears that the amount of contaminated water is getting out of hand.
Japan's chief Cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said Friday that fish and seafood that go to market are tested for radiation and shown to be safe. Suga also stressed that the contaminated water flowing into the ocean is limited to a small area off the coast of the Fukushima plant.