Tension flares with Japan over Korea’s fisheries import ban

Tension flares with Japan over Korea’s fisheries import ban

The Japanese government is moving to protest South Korea's ban on all fisheries products from Fukushima and adjacent regions for fear of radioactive exposure, posing another strain on the bilateral relations already frayed by historical rows.

A high-ranking official at Japan's Fisheries Agency is set to visit South Korea on Monday in an apparent move to pressure Seoul into lifting the import ban, reports said.

Kenji Kagawa, director-general of Resources Enhancement Promotion Department, will request the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety officials in Sejong City to explain the basis of the restriction, according to the reports.

The agency is also reviewing plans to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization if it does not receive an "acceptable" explanation for the ban, Japan's Sankei Shimbun reported.

Last week, the Korean government placed import bans on 50 fisheries in Fukushima and seven other prefectures ― Ibaraki, Gunma, Miyagi, Iwate, Tochigi, Chiba and Aomori ― as public apprehension aggravated over the "lax safety control" of fisheries products.

Along with the ban, the Korean government lowered the allowed the level of radiation in fisheries products from 370 becquerels per kilogram to 100 becquerels.

Korea is the latest to join a series of import bans from Japan's neighboring countries.

Immediately after the nuclear accident in 2011, China and Taiwan banned the imports of seafood, dairy and vegetable products from Japan. But no legal countermeasure was taken by the Japanese government.

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