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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs