Japan to pressure South Korea at WTO meeting to lift ban on seafood from Fukushima, other prefectures
Tokyo hopes to boost international pressure on South Korea to remove its import ban on seafood produced in eight prefectures, including Fukushima, according to government officials.
The central government will continue expressing its concern about South Korea’s import ban at meetings of the World Trade Organization, by saying that the South Korean measure runs counter to international trade rules.
Tokyo will appeal to the international community in the hopes that exports of seafood will be able to resume from the eight prefectures to South Korea, the officials said Tuesday.
In a meeting of the WTO committee on sanitary and phytosanitary measures starting Wednesday in Geneva, Japan will voice its concern about the import ban for the fourth time since October 2013. After the forthcoming session, Tokyo will underscore its concern each time the committee meets.
If South Korea maintains its current stance, Japan will consider taking the issue to the WTO dispute settlement process, the sources said.
In September 2013, South Korea imposed a ban on imports of seafood from the eight prefectures, including Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Chiba and Gunma, because of worries about radioactive water leaking into the sea from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
Japan has asked for the removal of the ban by providing some 3,000 pages of documents about the safety of the seafood and measures taken against the tainted water leaks.
South Korea said last month it would set up a special panel to examine whether Japanese seafood is safe. No progress has been reported to the Japanese side so far, according to an official in the Fisheries Agency.