Koreans, eat Fukushima food in the name of free trade, Japanese government says

This 2013 video from South Korea is about South Korea banning fish imports from near Japan’s Fukushima.

From the Japan Times:

Japan takes South Korea to WTO over Fukushima-related food import restrictions

Reuters, Kyodo

May 22, 2015

GENEVA – The central government launched a trade complaint at the World Trade Organization on Thursday to challenge South Korea’s import bans and additional testing requirements for Japanese food after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

South Korea expressed regret at Japan’s action and said its ban on some Japanese seafood was necessary and reflected safety concerns.

Japan says several measures taken by South Korea violate the WTO’s sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) agreement and Seoul has failed to justify its trade restrictions as required, the WTO said in a statement.

Under WTO rules, South Korea has 60 days in which to deal with Japan’s concerns in bilateral talks. After that Japan could ask the WTO to adjudicate on the matter.

“In upcoming talks with Japan, we plan to explain fully that the import ban is necessary for people’s safety, and actively deal with Japan over the issue they raised based upon WTO’s dispute settlement procedures,” South Korea’s trade, agriculture, foreign affairs and other related ministries said in a joint statement.

Details of Japan’s complaint were not immediately available, but Japan has repeatedly raised the issue in committee meetings at the WTO, where it has also voiced concerns about Fukushima-related trade restrictions imposed by Taiwan and China.

“We’ve urged the South Korean government to lift the ban, but we expect it is unlikely to be dropped quickly,” Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said in a statement on Thursday.

South Korea extended its ban on Japanese fishery imports in September 2013 to cover imports from eight Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima.

Last October, the Japanese representative at the WTO committee said contamination levels in more than 99 percent of food items were below standard limits, and strict measures prevented the sale or export of any food exceeding those limits.

South Korea’s representative told the same meeting that its restrictions were in line with WTO rules, but Japan had not provided it with sufficient data for an objective and science-based risk assessment.

The average annual value of South Korean imports of Japanese fish and seafood was $96 million in 2012-2014, less than half the average of $213 million in 2006 through 2010, according to data from the International Trade Center in Geneva.

South Korea’s president vows to end reliance on nuclear power — The Telegraph: here.

Ex-Futaba mayor sues state, Tepco over Fukushima nuclear disaster — The Japan Times: here.

Tepco to sell large portion of uranium reserves — Enformable Nuclear News: here.

Fukushima may end free housing for voluntary nuclear evacuees in 2017 — The Japan Times: here.

Survey: Large majority of Fukushima evacuees have family members with health problems — The Asahi Shimbun: here.

Fukushima thyroid examination May 2015: 103 Thyroid cancer cases confirmed, 5 in the second-round screening — Fukushima Voice: here.

Huge spike in neurological diseases in Japan after Fukushima; 600% rise in disorders among evacuees: here.

Japan still aims to start removing fuel debris from stricken reactors in 2021 — The Japan Times: here.

Risk of hydrogen explosion from leaking containers at Fukushima plant — The Asahi Shimbun: here.

Fukushima pressure relief system failed at reactor 2 after disaster, Tepco reveals: here.

IAEA report on Fukushima slams lack of tsunami preparedness despite awareness of threat — The Japan Times: here.

Spent-nuclear fuel issues plague restartsThe Japan Times: here.

Letters from Mitsuhei Murata, former Japanese ambassador to Switzerland, to Caroline Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Washington Post: here.

The Horrors of Fukushima — Mitsuhei Murata, April 20, 2015: here.

FUKUSHIMA – In 30 to 40 years from now, a majority of the young people living in 12 radiation-contaminated municipalities in Fukushima do not plan to be living in the same place where they experienced the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, it has been learned: here.

Plan to end rent subsidies for some Fukushima evacuees under fresh fire: here.

The government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. are planning to push back the start of removing spent fuel at the wrecked Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex by two to three years from the current schedule, according to government sources: here.

7,000 Tochigi residents seek compensation over Fukushima nuclear disaster — The Japan Times: here.

Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster — Truthdig book review: here.

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