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Hong Kong to curb some Japan food imports over Fukushima water release

Hong Kong to curb some Japan food imports over Fukushima water release
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Hong Kong leader John Lee said Tuesday that he had instructed his government to “immediately activate” import curbs on some Japanese food after Tokyo announced it would release water from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean.

“The Japanese government has decided on its own to discharge nuclear wastewater into the sea,” Hong Kong leader John Lee said in a Facebook post.

“I express my strong objections,” he added, calling the move “irresponsible” as it disregarded food safety and environmental risks.

He went on to say he had “instructed the Secretary for the Environment and Ecology and relevant departments to immediately activate the import control measures to protect food safety and public health in Hong Kong”.

Japan, for its part, insists the gradual release into the sea of the more than 500 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of water that has accumulated at the stricken nuclear plant is safe, a view backed by the UN atomic agency.

Hong Kong is the second-largest receiver of Japanese food imports, after mainland China, according to Japan’s ministry of agriculture.

Last month, the city announced that it planned to “prohibit the import of aquatic products originating from 10 prefectures” in Japan if the country went ahead with its wastewater discharge.

The announcement followed a similar one by China’s General Administration of Customs, which had threatened a blanket ban on all foodstuffs from the areas.

The 10 prefectures named were Tokyo, Fukushima, Chiba, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Gunma, Miyagi, Niigata, Nagano and Saitama.

Japan’s diplomatic representatives in Hong Kong have opposed the import curbs and have met with Lee and senior government officials in recent weeks.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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