Japan has lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over China’s ban on importing all of its seafood products, following the start of the release of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The Japanese government called on China to “remove the restriction as soon as possible”, which it considers to have no scientific basis.Japanese government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said this Tuesday at a press conference, revealing the filing of the complaint and describing Beijing’s decision as “regrettable”.
Japan also asked China to review the veto based on the rules of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.a free trade agreement to which both countries are associated with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc.
Hours earlier, before leaving for Indonesia to attend an ASEAN summit, the Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, said that he hopes to explain to his counterparts in Southeast Asia “in a transparent way the process of cleaning the waters” so that they “understand and cooperate in multilateral and bilateral meetings”.
On August 24, the company that owns the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which is in a critical situation, began to discharge treated water from the power plant., which consists of water used to cool damaged reactors and melted fuel, as well as rainwater that has seeped into the facility and which has been contaminated and further treated to remove dangerous radioactive elements. Discharge of wastewater into the ocean is expected to continue for decades.
Fukushima: Japan will release radioactive waters from nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean. What is at stake?
Since the plan was known, Neighboring countries such as China opposed the dump on security grounds, despite it having been authorized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)which states that it complies with international security measures and that the human and environmental impact will, in principle, be harmless.
UN says water discharge from Fukushima nuclear power plant is not harmful
Tokyo insists the water is safe, while Beijing has decided, in response, to impose an import ban on all marine products from the archipelago.
Japan announced, also this Tuesday, an emergency fund to help exporters affected by the ban in mainland China, Macau and Hong Kong. The fund will have a value of 20.7 billion yen (130.6 million euros). The Japanese Prime Minister said that the emergency fund comes in addition to the 80 billion yen (507 million euros) that the government previously allocated to these companies to combat the damage caused to the reputation of Japanese products.