Japan asked South Korea on Monday to rescind its expanded import ban on fisheries products from eight prefectures related to concern with radiation-contaminated water leaking into the Pacific Ocean from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
Kenji Kagawa, director general of the Fisheries Agency’s Resources Enhancement Promotion Department, made the request in a meeting with officials from South Korea’s Food and Drug Safety Ministry.
“As we listened to Japan’s opinions, we will review the situation with experts,” a South Korean ministry official said.
South Korea earlier this month expanded an extant import ban to include all fisheries products from Fukushima and seven surrounding prefectures over concerns about the 300 tons of radiation-contaminated water leaking into the Pacific Ocean daily from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
South Korea’s fisheries ministry also stated that a new radiation inspection certificate would be required if even a minuscule dose of radioactive material is detected in any fisheries or animal product from any other part of Japan.
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi urged South Korea to make a “calm response based on scientific grounds” to the radioactive water issue.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said shortly after South Korea’s decision that the situation at the plant was under control and the contaminated water leaking from a storage tank had been confined to a small area within the artificial port of the nuclear complex. But the reality is that the water in the port is refreshed by circulation with the ocean every day.
Before announcing the augmented ban, South Korea had banned 50 fisheries products, including freshwater fish, from Fukushima, Aomori, Ibaraki, Gunma, Miyagi, Iwate, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures in light of the triple meltdowns at the aging, poorly protected plant triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
U.S. offers to help stop Fukushima water leaks
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Sunday that Washington is ready to support Japan’s effort to stop radioactive water from leaking into the sea at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Moniz made the offer at a meeting in Vienna with Ichita Yamamoto, after the minister in charge of science and technology said Tokyo is acting responsibly to fully contain the spread of radiation with a bunch of money — government funds amounting to ¥47 billion — announced last month more than two years after the crisis began.
The U.S. energy chief underscored the importance of transparency in disclosing the government’s crisis response measures.
Yamamoto gave assurances Japan will provide the international community with accurate information.
As for the decommissioning of the Fukushima reactors, Yamamoto called for international support for the complex and difficult task.
Data flow halts from experimental Monju reactor
The Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, stopped transmitting data early Monday, possibly due to the typhoon that tore across mainland Honshu, the Nuclear Regulation Authority said.
The government’s Emergency Response Support System stopped receiving reactor monitoring data before 3 a.m., the NRA said.
The NRA is collecting necessary data from the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, which operates the reactor.
There are no prospects for restoring data transmission for the time being because the reactor site has become inaccessible from debris, mudslides and fallen trees caused by the typhoon, it said.
The experimental Monju reactor has effectively been prohibited from operation because of lax safety management by the operator.