Lazy eyes listen
Chinese customs officials announced an immediate embargo on all seafood imports from Japan on Thursday, as Tokyo begins a contentious release of cleaned radioactive effluent from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean.
China is Japan’s largest fish importer, purchasing $496 million in 2022. According to data compiled by the Japanese statistics office, it also imported $370 million in crustaceans and mollusks such as crabs and scallops last year.
Aside from Japan, China purchases fish from countries such as Ecuador, Russia, and Canada.
China had previously prohibited food imports from 10 Japanese prefectures surrounding the Fukushima plant, and Hong Kong had announced a ban on seafood imports from those same prefectures earlier this week.
Earlier this week, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida revealed intentions to discharge approximately 1.3 million metric tons of treated wastewater from Fukushima, which is comparable to approximately 500 Olympic-size swimming pools.
The Japanese government has scheduled the discharge of treated water into the Pacific Ocean at 1pm Tokyo time on Thursday, according to state-owned electrical utility TEPCO, who also stated that the weather and sea conditions are suitable.
The plan has been condemned by Beijing as “extremely selfish and irresponsible.” The Chinese customs department stated that the imports were halted to avoid nuclear contamination hazards.
Following a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and associated devastating tsunami in 2011, the Fukushima nuclear power station underwent a catastrophic meltdown. It was the worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl incident in 1986.