Switzerland To Lift Post-Fukushima Restrictions On Japan's Seafood Imports - Reports

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 01st August, 2023) Switzerland plans to lift import restrictions imposed on seafood from areas surrounding Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant on August 15, Japanese media reported on Tuesday, citing authorities of Fukushima Prefecture.

Swiss Ambassador to Japan Andreas Baum announced the decision at a meeting with Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori in Tokyo on Monday, the Kyodo news agency reported. Switzerland will follow the lead of the European Union, which lifted Fukushima-related restrictions on July 15.

After Switzerland lifts its import barriers as planned, there will be only 10 countries maintaining restrictions on food from Japan, the news agency reported.

China is among those 10. Prior to the planned release of treated water from the power plant into the sea, Beijing, indicating its opposition to the process, strengthened radiation checks of seafood from Japan, according to the report.

Following the disaster at the Fukushima plant in 2011, 55 countries imposed restrictions on Japan's food imports. The United States, Israel and Singapore lifted all of their Fukushima-related restrictions in 2021, the United Kingdom and Indonesia followed suit in 2022.

In 2021, Japan announced its plans to dispose of Fukushima's treated water and invited the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify that it would be safe. Some countries, including New Zealand and South Korea, initially opposed Japan's plans, fearing that radioactive water would affect their population. Japan postponed the discharge of treated water until the summer of 2023, citing adverse weather conditions and other factors.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred on March 11, 2011. The plant was severely damaged by a magnitude 9 earthquake in the Pacific Ocean. The quake triggered a massive tsunami that hit the plant and caused three nuclear reactors to melt down. Fukushima is considered the worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl accident in 1986 and has resulted in widespread contamination of local soil and water. The disaster left 22,200 people dead or missing.