Japan mulls formal WTO complaint against China following seafood ban
In late August, China submitted a notification of emergency measures to the World Trade Organization (WTO), stating that it planned to suspend imports of all Japanese-origin aquatic products as a result of the controversial release of treated wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Soon after the notification, Japan’s delegation to the WTO submitted a counterargument on 4 September challenging the ban that emphasizes the safety of the discharged wastewater, including a detailed plan to monitor the water at three stages: in tanks, during dilution and discharge, and in the sea.
The first treated water release occurred from 24 August to 11 September, but intermittent releases are likely to continue for about 30 years. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, began its second round of discharges on 5 October.
To ensure that those concerned with the release could monitor its progress on their own, TEPCO prepared a website with monitoring results updated every three hours in Japanese, English, Korean, and three dialects of Chinese – for mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
The same data is also available on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) website. The related IAEA webpage highlights the status of the release and the monitoring results at six points, each with detailed labels of current activity.
Japan’s Ministry of the Environment has also reported sample seawater results from multiple points based on the distance from the wastewater’s discharge point, including the concentration of various major radionuclides within three and five kilometers of the discharge point.
As yet another monitoring measure, Japan’s Fisheries Agency monitors and reports tritium levels of fish caught by gillnet near the discharge point, while also presenting these results multilingually in an attempt to appeal to China and South Korea. The latter country maintained its 2013 ban after the water release on seafood from eight Japanese prefectures.
Even with all of these monitoring measures in place, China has ...
Image courtesy of the Tokyo Electric Power Company