Korea considering banning Japan food importsKorea is considering joining a growing number of countries to ban Japanese food imports as concern turns to panic over radioactive contamination following the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years, according to the country’s food watchdog yesterday.
“If serious radioactive contamination of Japanese products is found in the future, we will review a plan to tentatively put on hold the imports of Japanese food,” said the Korea Food and Drug Administration in a statement.
The announcement came on the same day as Hong Kong began a ban on food imports from the affected Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned imports of dairy products, vegetables and fruits produced in Fukushima and three neighboring prefectures - Gunma, Ibaraki and Tochigi - on Tuesday. The European Union is reviewing a similar measure.
According to reports, bottled water on the shelves of many Tokyo stores were sold out after officials warned on Wednesday that radioactive iodine levels in the city’s tap water were too dangerous for infants to drink.
The tsunami-ravaged nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where the radiation leaks originated after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, are 140 miles north of Tokyo.
Yesterday, Kawaguchi, a city north of Tokyo, also found twice the normal amount of radioactive iodine, and high radiation levels were also observed in parts of Chiba, east of Tokyo.
Broccoli and 10 other vegetables grown in or around Fukushima were also found to have high radioactivity levels, according to Tokyo officials yesterday.
The KFDA said no Japanese products shipped to Korea so far were contaminated. Japan has banned outward shipment from the areas near the crippled nuclear plant since March 21. The KFDA said it is checking all imported Japanese products for radiation contamination.
Japanese efforts to prevent radiation leaks slowed down yesterday as white plumes were seen rising from reactors No. 1 and No. 4. Tokyo officials later said no rise in radioactivity had been detected.
Three Japanese workers were exposed to radiation yesterday, and two were sent to the hospital for treatment, the Japanese government said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said yesterday that the overall situation at the Fukushima plant remained serious.
By Moon Gwang-lip [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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