China to ban food imports from Japan citing safety reasons

BEIJING  -China will ban the import of food from about one-fifth of Japanese prefectures for safety reasons, Chinese customs said on Friday, citing Japan’s move to discharge nuclear contaminated water into the sea.

China, the biggest buyer of Japan’s seafood exports, said it would also strictly review the documents for food, especially aquatic products, from other parts of Japan, customs said in a statement.

China customs said it would continuously strengthen the detection and monitoring of radioactive substances to ensure the safety of food imported from Japan in banning food from 10 prefectures.

The move was to prevent the export of radioactive contaminated Japanese food to China and protect the food safety of Chinese consumers’ imports, China said.

For weeks China had publicly voiced strong opposition to Japan’s move to discharge treated radioactive water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, this week gave Japan the greenlight to begin discharging more than a million metric tons of water used to cool the plant’s fuel rods after it was wrecked by a 2011 tsunami.

China customs said the report did not fully reflect the views of all the experts involved in the assessment process, and the conclusions were not unanimously endorsed by the experts.

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