S. Korea to keep import ban on Japan's fishery products in place: PM
South Korean Prime Minister Han Duk-soo said Thursday that the country will keep its import ban on Japan's fishery products in place, in an address made after Japan started dumping nuclear-contaminated wastewater into the ocean earlier in the day.
Han told a nationally televised address that the South Korean government will sternly maintain import restrictions on Japan's fishery products, stressing that the concerns among South Korean people about the easing or lifting of import restrictions on Japanese seafood will never be realized.
Seoul has prohibited the import of all fishery products from eight Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima, and 27 agricultural products from 15 other prefectures, while all food imported from other Japanese regions have been thoroughly tested for radioactivity, Han said.
The prime minister noted that the import restrictions were imposed to protect South Korean people from radioactive materials following the Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011.
Han said Japan should strictly comply with scientific standards and transparently provide information as it promised to the international community, and urged Tokyo to transparently and responsibly offer South Korea relevant information on the nuclear-contaminated wastewater discharge that will continue for the next 30 years.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, said earlier in the day that it started discharging the first batch of radioactive wastewater from the crippled plant into the Pacific Ocean.
Hit by a massive earthquake and an ensuing tsunami in March 2011, the Fukushima power plant suffered core meltdowns and generated a massive amount of water tainted with radioactive substances from cooling down the nuclear fuel.