News / Asia

Ban Grows on Japanese Food Imports

Imported seafood from Japan is screened for radiation by a chef at a Japanese restaurant in Hong Kong to make sure the food is safe to eat, March 22, 2011
Imported seafood from Japan is screened for radiation by a chef at a Japanese restaurant in Hong Kong to make sure the food is safe to eat, March 22, 2011

The number of governments that have banned Japanese food imports due to fears of radiation contamination is growing. On Friday, China joined Singapore and the U.S. in halting some imported foods from radiation-affected areas of Japan. Other governments are expected to take similar precautionary measures as Japan struggles to contain the damage from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The situation at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant remains precarious after several workers there suffered radiation burns while attempting to cool one of the damaged reactors.

Although the extent of contamination remains unclear, the damage to farms and livelihoods is spreading. At one of Japan's busiest fish markets, Yasumichi Tanaka said the daily catch is dwindling. "Fish supplies from the radiation contaminated regions have been totally halted."

Produce markets also have taken a hit. Retailers say some customers are avoiding all vegetables, not just those likely to be contaminated.
International orders have suffered, as well.

On Friday, China joined the growing list of countries that have halted food imports from affected regions. State TV reported the banned items included milk products, fruit, vegetables and seafood.

In Singapore, where some Japanese foods already are banned, restaurant manager Connie Hon said her customers are worried. "Consumer confidence is yes, somewhat shaken, I would say, amongst some of the Singapore populace, but that can't be helped, I think."

And at another popular restaurant, manager Nakakita Yoshihiko said the menu has changed. "First of all, they want to know the food comes from where and is it safe or not? These are two major questions and it's very easy to answer. It does not come from Fukushima, and Singapore is able to check all the items to make sure the food is safe."

Canada, Australia and Russia have adopted similar bans on Japanese foods. Health and security researcher Bill Durodie said more countries are likely to follow. "The reality is the United States made the decision a few days ago and it's almost inevitable that once a country that size has decided to act in that way, others will follow suit."

But an expert on the politics of energy said the danger of radiation-contaminated foods is greatly exaggerated. Charles Ebinger at the Brookings Institution told VOA that an average adult would have to drink a quart of contaminated milk each day for one year to receive the same radiation as one CAT scan.

Ebinger said the one certainty is the economic damage to Japan's northeast. "That particular part of Japan is deeply dependent on agriculture and fish, so I think inside the Japanese economy, we'll see pockets of areas that have been exposed to contamination, see their economy hurt very much."

Many European countries have yet to announce bans on Japanese food imports. Germany and France have started screening food samples.  They say there will be no restrictions on Japanese food imports, however, until the test results are back.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid