Hong Kong leader John Lee threatened on Tuesday to ban the import of marine products from a large number of Japanese prefectures if radioactive water treated at the Fukushima plant was released into the sea.
The Fukushima plant was destroyed by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami off Japan’s east coast and releasing accumulated water from the plant is a decades-old project that has now been green-lighted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
It is pertinent to mention here that Hong Kong is Japan’s second largest market for agriculture and fisheries exports. mainland China is its largest, reuters informed of.
However, Tokyo says the releases will be safe and in line with global standards.
At a media briefing, Lee, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said the current ban on shipments from Hong Kong’s one prefecture would “definitely” be expanded.
“If the practice really starts, we will ban marine products from a large number of provinces.”
China said last week it would tighten its checks on food coming from Japan and maintain restrictions on some Japanese imports. South Korea said the ban on imports of food and seafood from the Fukushima area would continue.
Lee said he had asked Hong Kong’s Secretary of Environment and Ecology to form a multi-departmental team to prepare an action plan for the city. The government will take “decisive action” and announce details of the plan to the public as soon as possible, Li said.
“The catering industry will be affected, but I am sure they will understand that we are forced to make this decision because of this unprecedented exercise.”
According to Japanese government statistics, in 2022, Japan will export fishery products worth 75.5 billion yen ($536 million) to Hong Kong.