Russia Contemplates Japanese Seafood Import Ban Over Fukushima Water Release

by Ella

Russia is deliberating on the possibility of following China’s lead in banning Japanese seafood imports following Japan’s recent release of treated radioactive water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea. The move has prompted Russia to seek talks with Japan on the matter, according to a statement by the Russian food safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor on Tuesday.

Japan initiated the release of treated water from the Fukushima plant into the ocean last month, drawing strong objections from China. In response, China imposed a comprehensive ban on all aquatic imports from Japan.


Rosselkhoznadzor disclosed that it had engaged in discussions with its Chinese counterparts regarding Japanese food exports. Russia is a significant supplier of marine products to China and is looking to expand its market share further.


“In consideration of the potential risks associated with radiation contamination of products, Rosselkhoznadzor is evaluating the option of aligning with Chinese restrictions on the supply of fish products from Japan,” the statement from Rosselkhoznadzor noted. It added, “The ultimate decision will be reached following negotiations with the Japanese authorities.”


As per the regulator’s report, Russia has imported 118 tonnes of Japanese seafood this year.


Rosselkhoznadzor confirmed that it had dispatched a letter to Japan, urging the need for discussions and requesting information from Japan about its radiological testing of exported fish products, including tritium, by October 16.

Japan contends that the released water is safe after undergoing treatment to remove most radioactive elements, with the exception of tritium, a radionuclide challenging to separate from water. The treated water is then diluted to meet internationally accepted safety levels before being discharged into the sea.

Japan maintains that criticism from Russia and China lacks scientific backing. In its latest water testing report released on Monday, Japan’s Ministry of Environment stated that seawater samples collected on September 19 revealed tritium concentrations below the lower limit of detection at all 11 sampling points, affirming that it posed no adverse effects on human health or the environment.

Furthermore, Russia’s far eastern branch of Rosselkhoznadzor reported no anomalies in marine samples used for testing in regions relatively close to where the treated water was discharged.

Russia exported approximately 2.3 million metric tons of marine products in the previous year, valued at approximately $6.1 billion, accounting for nearly half of its overall catch. China, South Korea, and Japan were the largest importers of Russian marine products, as per data from Russia’s fisheries agency.



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