Russia Suspends Japanese Seafood Imports

Russia suspended all Japanese seafood imports on Monday, following a recent Chinese measure in response to Tokyo’s dumping of effluent from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear facility.

As a “precautionary measure,” Rosselkhoznadzor, Russia’s regulatory agency for agricultural products, said it was “joining China’s provisional restrictive measures on the import of fish and seafood products from Japan as of October 16, 2023.”

The limits will be in place “until the necessary exhaustive information to confirm the safety of seafood produce… is forthcoming,” according to the statement.

China prohibited all Japanese seafood imports in late August, citing the “selfish” and “irresponsible” dumping of Fukushima wastewater.

Japan completed the first step of discharging cleaned polluted water from the damaged plant into the Pacific Ocean on August 24, insisting that the process is safe. The second phase began on October 5.

However, the measure has generated a heated pushback from neighbors, particularly the Chinese, who purchased more than $500 million in seafood from Japan last year, according to customs data.

Following a major earthquake and tsunami that killed around 18,000 people, three reactors at the Fukushima-Daiichi complex in northeastern Japan melted down in 2011.

The release of the wastewater has been deemed safe by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

However, Beijing claims that Tokyo has not shown the legitimacy and integrity of the nuclear wastewater data, nor that the water discharged into the ocean is safe for the marine environment or human health.

According to the official timeline, Tokyo aims to dump into the Pacific Ocean approximately 540 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of heavy water from Fukushima over a period of time stretching until the 2050s.

With the exception of tritium, the water has been treated to eliminate radioactive chemicals, then diluted with seawater prior to discharge to ensure its radioactivity level does not exceed 1,500 becquerels per litre — 40 times less than the Japanese standard for this type of operation.

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