(Yomiuri: March 12, 2015 – p. 3)
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, at least 12 countries and regions continue to prohibit imports of marine products, milk, animal feed, and other products from Fukushima and other prefectures as of March 3. The Japanese government and Fukushima Prefecture are making efforts to assure the 12 countries and regions of the safety of these products through inspection tours and other programs.
In 2013, two years after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, South Korea announced a ban on fisheries imports from eight Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima, citing concerns about contaminated water. Although the Japanese government has called for the withdrawal of the ban, insisting that there is “no scientific justification for the ban,” South Korea continues to impose it. As a result, exports of fishery products from Japan to South Korea for one year from September 2013 totaled about 8.4 billion yen, down 2.5 billion yen from the previous year because Japan’s exports of pollack, a type of fish that is very popular in South Korea, dropped 70%.
The Fisheries Agency has been focusing on activities to seek understanding from South Korea on inspection and distribution in Japan by organizing inspection tours of the nuclear plant and fishing ports. The agency is hoping that not only South Korea but also China and Taiwan, which have banned imports of all foodstuffs from Fukushima and its neighboring prefectures, will remove the bans.