Increased Radiation Inspections on Japanese Food Imports from China Worry Sushi Shops

Just over three weeks have passed since China tightened regulations on the import of Japanese food due to radiation fears, but Kazuyuki Tanioka is already worried about the future of his luxury sushi restaurant in Beijing.

Tanioka’s eight-year-old Toya has suffered with years of COVID limitations, which only started to lighten late last year, like other eateries in China. Currently, it is experiencing a lack of both clients and seafood in advance of Japan’s intentions to release treated radioactive water from its catastrophic Fukushima nuclear facility into the ocean.

The 49-year-old chef-restaurant owner from Kumamoto, southern Japan, said, “The hardest thing for us now is that we can’t buy any Japanese seafood at all because it’s taking so long to clear Chinese customs.”

The current wait periods at Chinese ports, according to a spokeswoman for a significant seafood merchant, are around three weeks.

The Fukushima water release plan has received intense criticism recently from China’s foreign ministry and state media, and this criticism peaked again around and after the UN nuclear watchdog announced it approved of the proposal.

Although China continues to be Japan’s largest seafood export market, articles and hashtags on Chinese social media often claim that Japanese food is radioactive and should be avoided. Tanioka claims that as a consequence of the downturn in Japanese eateries, his clientele has decreased by 90%.

Customers at Japanese restaurants and shops in Beijing expressed their support for the Chinese government’s increased vigilance, which maintains that the water discharge presents a danger to the environment and public health and that Japan would be responsible for the repercussions if it moves through with its plan.

Customers at Japanese restaurants and stores in Beijing who talked with Reuters said they approved of the Chinese government’s increased inspection.

Beijing resident Duan, who only gave his last name, said, “I believe the steps we are presently doing on Japanese seafood goods demonstrate a responsible attitude of the government towards its citizens. “We can say that we feel relatively at ease because of the policies of the government.”

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