Call to Halt Imports of Japanese Fish due to Radiation Fears02 August 2013
SOUTH KOREA - South Korean environmental and civic groups have urged the government to stop importing fishery products from Japan until it can assure the public that its marine products are safe to eat.
Last month, Tokyo Electric Power Co. acknowledged for the first time that its crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant is still leaking contaminated water into the ocean, a problem many experts had suspected, reports YonhapNewsAgency.
"The Japanese government and related organizations should make a public apology for lying about the radioactive contamination in their attempt to cover it up," the groups, including the Young Women's Christian Association of Korea (YWCA), said in a joint statement.
The statement was read during a news conference held in front of the Japanese Embassy in central Seoul.
Even after Tokyo Electric Power's acknowledgment, South Korea imported more than 570,000 kilograms of marine products such as pollack and cutlass fish from Japan during the July 22-26 period, according to the groups.
"The government should stop importing Japanese marine products as long as the contaminated water leaks are confirmed to be out of control," said the statement.
Currently, a total of 49 items from eight Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima, are prohibited from entering Korea under a Japanese government decision.
However, Seoul has never imposed a ban on imports of Japanese products since the nuclear accident, they noted.
A 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck off Japan's northeast coast in March 2011, triggering a tsunami that swamped the Fukushima plant's cooling system, sparking reactor meltdowns and radiation leaks.
TheFishSite News Desk