Post-Fukushima Food Import Curbs Lifted by the EU, Norway, and Iceland, China Remains Unconvinced

The European Union, Norway, and Iceland have lifted import restrictions they imposed on food products from parts of Japan after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster.

As a result of the changes, the number of countries and regions maintaining import controls due to radioactivity safety concerns is down to nine, with Switzerland expected to follow later this month.

The International Atomic Energy Agency determined last month that Japan’s plan to release treated radioactive water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea was in line with international safety standards, and will have an insignificant radiological impact on people and the environment.

The EU has been gradually easing its restrictions leaving wild mushrooms, some fish species, and wild edible plants among the last food items subjected to testing.

The EU has also asked the Japanese government to continue monitoring fish, fishery products, and seaweed close to the release site of the contaminated water,” and to also make the results public.

However, near neighbours China remain unconvinced about the planned release of treated radioactive water, and together with Hong Kong say they will maintain import restrictions and will intensify radiation inspections for seafood imports from Japan and potentially place a total ban on those imports.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin recently said: “If some people think that the nuclear-contaminated water from Fukushima is safe to drink or swim in, we suggest that Japan save the nuclear-contaminated water for these people to drink or swim in, instead of releasing it into the sea.”