Business

Japan denounces WTO ruling in favor of South Korean ban on some Japanese seafood

Kyodo

Tokyo on Friday denounced a recent World Trade Organization ruling that supported a South Korean ban on imports of some Japanese fishery products introduced in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

“Japan is deeply concerned that the appellate body report dismissed the panel’s findings founded on solid scientific evidence,” Junichi Ihara, Japan’s representative in Geneva, said at a meeting of the global trade watchdog’s dispute settlement body.

The WTO’s appellate body for dispute settlement on April 11 ruled in favor of South Korea’s import ban on fishery products from Fukushima and seven other prefectures, reversing an earlier decision.

It said the initial decision “erred in its interpretation and application” of WTO rules on food safety, but did not look at details related to the amount of radioactive contaminants in Japanese food products or the level of protection South Korean consumers should have.

Calling the appellate body’s judgment “extremely regrettable,” Ihara argued that it “could have a negative impact on perceptions of the safety of Japanese foods and on those seeking to export their products to countries such as Korea.”

The ruling is final, as the appellate body is the highest authority in the WTO’s dispute-settlement mechanism.

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