Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori expressed regret Monday over the cancellation of an event that the Foreign Ministry had planned to hold in Seoul over the weekend to promote recovery in Tohoku after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
“I know that it will take time to eliminate the unfavorable reputation in other countries,” given the nuclear crisis, he said at a news conference in Tokyo.
The Foreign Ministry canceled the event after failing to secure approval from authorities in Seoul, where concern lingers over the safety of food from Tohoku.
The event was to run Saturday and Sunday, promoting specialties such as sweets and sake.
“I’m dismayed by this,” Uchibori said, adding that he thought the event would provide a good opportunity for people in South Korea to deepen their understanding of Fukushima and the rest of Tohoku.
On Friday, South Korean civic groups, including one monitoring radioactive contamination, called for the event to be canceled. It also demanded an apology from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.
The groups said Fukushima, Miyagi and Aomori suffered radioactive contamination, noting that South Korea restricts the importing of seafood from the prefectures. They said the event would promote food produced in Fukushima.