Hong Kong will impose new controls on food imports from Japan in response to a contentious plan to begin releasing treated wastewater from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.
(Bloomberg) — Hong Kong will impose new controls on food imports from Japan in response to a contentious plan to begin releasing treated wastewater from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.
Chief Executive John Lee said Tuesday he had “immediately instructed” officials to initiate import control measures to “protect Hong Kong’s food safety and public health.”
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida earlier confirmed that the discharge of about 1.3 million cubic meters of the treated wastewater can start from Thursday and will likely continue over at least the next three decades.
Read more: How Japan Will Release Its Nuclear Wastewater Into the Pacific
“The Japanese government insists on discharging nuclear wastewater into the sea,” Lee wrote in a Facebook post. “This unprecedented decision and practice of discharging a large amount of nuclear waste over 30 years — regardless of the inextricable risks to food safety and the irreversible pollution and damage to the marine environment — is an irresponsible imposition on others.”
China and other nations have questioned the proposal’s safety, and those concerns had already prompted some Hong Kong restaurants to begin looking for new seafood suppliers.
Lee didn’t include any details of the new import controls in his Facebook post, but local media reported last month that the city would look to ban aquatic products from 10 Japanese regions once the discharges began.
South Korea’s main opposition party on Tuesday labeled the planned discharge the “worst environmental destruction,” and denounced President Yoon Suk Yeol over his government’s backing for Japan on the issue.
“This is a complete dereliction of duty to protect the lives and safety of the people,” Democratic Party of Korea leader Lee Jae-myung said Tuesday, Yonhap News reported. The Korea Federation for Environmental Movements held a protest in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul.
–With assistance from Olivia Tam and Sangmi Cha.
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