Yoshimasa Hayashi, the Agriculture minister of Japan asked South Korea on September 18, 2013 to lift the ban on all seafood product imports coming from eight of the Japanese prefectures. Earlier in September 2013, South Korea announced a ban on 50 fishery products from Iwate, Aomori, Fukushima, Miyagi, Chiba, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma prefectures, over concerns about radiation contamination from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.
While speaking at a press conference in Tokyo, Hayashi stated that the ban must be lifted as soon as possible. Kenji Kagawa – the official from the Japanese Fisheries Agency – has been in Seoul this week, urging that the ban should be lifted and stating that the ban was not based on scientific grounds.
The government of South Korea said that the ban has been imposed because of the rising concern over the flow of hundreds of tons of contaminated water into the ocean, near the crippled Fukushima plant. The Fukushima plant experienced a meltdown during the March 2011 tsunami and earthquake.
In 2012, South Korea imported 5,000 tons of fishery products from the eight affected prefectures, which is a total of 40,000 tons of imports from Japan.
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