TOKYO – Japan’s government issued a statement Friday defending the country’s food safety standards after South Korea banned all fish imports from the Fukushima region, where a crippled nuclear plant has spilled radioactive water into the Pacific.
Chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Japanese food products were subject to tight international controls and called on Seoul to “adopt measures based on scientific facts.”
“We have provided the South Korean government relevant information since the leaking of contaminated water into the sea was discovered,” Suga said.
He was referring to the acknowledgment in July by the Fukushima nuclear plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, that hundreds of tons of contaminated groundwater were making their way to the Pacific every day.
South Korea on Friday announced a ban on imports of all fish products from eight Japanese regions, including Fukushima, amid heightened concerns at home over the leaks.
Citizens “are increasingly concerned about the fact that hundreds of tons of irradiated water are leaking every day from the site of the Fukushima nuclear accident,” Seoul said.
The plant was battered by a devastating March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
South Korea, which had previously imposed a ban on 50 fish products from a swath of Japan’s coast near the nuclear facility, also criticized Tokyo for not providing information “sufficient to predict the future evolution” of the situation. EFE