The Japanese government has resorted to asking the World Trade Organization (WTO) to sort out the problem over the import ban imposed by South Korea over marine products near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. An agency official from the Fisheries Bureau has asked the WTO’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary Committee to look into South Korea’s guidelines over the ban.
The ban was implemented and expanded last month, covering products from Fukushima and seven prefectures: Ibaraki, Gunma, Miyagi, Iwate, Tochigi, Chiba and Aomori. This was after Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) admitted that part of the 300 tons of contaminated water that leaked from the tanks might have seeped into the Pacific Ocean. But fisheries officials say that the ban is unfair and lacks scientific basis. They will also be defending in front of the WTO committee that their products are “under strict safety controls based on international standards”.
The government has already asked South Korea to lift the ban, but after receiving a negative response, they decided to register the issue with the WTO. However, the committee does not have power to impose their decisions on any country. But the fisheries official says that this way may force Seoul to repeal their ban as a formal WTO suit could take years to settle.
In related news, the Nuclear Regulation Authority said they plan to ask the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog, IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), to conduct a joint research on the effects of these water leaks on the environment. They are also planning to ask other countries to participate in the study to continually reassure them that the marine products are safe. The IAEA will be sending a team by next week to review how much progress Japan has made in terms of cleaning up the surrounding areas of the plant.
[ via Yahoo ]
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