At his restaurant in central Beijing, controversy over the release of treated Fukushima wastewater has left Yao facing a choice: continue stocking his popular Japanese tuna and risk the ire of some consumers or source it from other countries where price and quality could vary.

Chinese sushi and sashimi lovers have expressed reservations after Japan kicked off plans for the disposal of waste from the stricken Fukushima No. 1 power plant into the Pacific Ocean, 12 years after one of the world's worst nuclear disasters.

The intended release has been deemed safe by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but China nonetheless banned food imports from 10 prefectures, with Hong Kong following suit this week.