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China's seafood ban hits more than 700 Japanese exporters: Report

In this 2012 picture, a Japanese fishermen at the port of Minamisanriku is preparing seaweed to be used in food products a year after a 9.1 magnitude earthquake and tsunami hit northern Japan, killing many and causing a reactor meltdown at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima which led to radioactive contamination in the affected region. (File photo by AP)

More than 700 Japanese food exporters are affected by China's suspension of seafood imports from Japan after the release of water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, a report by market research firm Teikoku Databank said on Friday.

Japan started the discharge of more than 1 million cubic tons of treated radioactive water from the plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company on Thursday, prompting China to announce an immediate blanket ban on all aquatic products from Japan.

According to the Tokyo-based Teikoku Databank, 727 Japanese companies export food products to China, accounting for about 8 percent of all Japanese firms shipping goods to China.

The report also said 316 Japanese firms export foods to Hong Kong, which announced its own ban on Japanese seafood imports from 10 regions after the Fukushima water release.

China customs did not give details on the specific aquatic products affected by the ban.

Japan exported about $600 million worth of aquatic products to China in 2022, making it the biggest market for Japanese exports, with Hong Kong second.

Sales to China and Hong Kong accounted for 42 percent of all Japanese aquatic exports in 2022, according to government data.

South Korea said on Friday it would drastically expand radiation testing of farmed seafood as demand grew from fishermen and the public to ensure safety.

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More than 4,000 additional tests will be conducted at private institutions by the end of this year on farmed seafood products before they are shipped, Vice Oceans Minister Park Sung-hoon told a regular news briefing on the Fukushima wastewater issue.

Experts will extract samples from fish farms which are to be inspected in a lab. No radiation has been detected since the tests began in late July, the minister said.

Japan says the water release is safe, noting that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has also concluded that the impact it would have on people and the environment was "negligible".

(Source: Reuters)

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