Japan seeking and getting some relief on seafood export bans

With some high-profile bans on Japanese seafood being lifted, the Japanese government is setting its sights on a ban from South Korea that remains in effect, fueled by fears that fallout from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear reactor incident makes seafood products from Japan unsafe to eat.

According to an article in the Japan Times, the Russian government is easing its ban on Japanese seafood products, allowing seafood from 23 fish processing companies to export to Russia again.

It is not a total lifting of the ban, but the companies in question are in Aomori Prefecture, which the paper said is located “relatively far” from the site of the 2011 nuclear accident that followed an earthquake and tsunami. The Russian government’s decision is based on the early results of a study in February by the International Atomic Energy Commission.

Taiwan has also agreed to a partial lifting of its ban on food products from Japan. Media in Taiwan are reporting that the embargo might end as early as next week, again from only some parts of Japan.

In a related story, the Japan Times is also reporting that the Japanese government is considering appealing a similar ban by South Korea to the World Trade Organization (WTO). According to the paper, the Japanese agriculture minister said the government may ask the WTO next month to begin an inquiry. Both Japan and Korea have been negotiating for a lifting of the ban since 2011, but so far have made no progress.


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