South Korea Bans Japanese Fish Imports Over Fukushima Leak

South Korea Bans Japanese Fish Imports Over Fukushima Leak

South Korea banned imports of fish caught near the site of the Fukushima nuclear accident over concerns of radioactive contamination from the plant. The ban affects marine products from eight prefectures, including Fukushima, where the 2011 earthquake and tsunami devastated the plant, causing the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. Some of the fishing grounds were already closed. The decision came after the Japanese government revealed last month that 300 tons of contaminated water leaked from the site, with some making it to the ocean.“The decision was made as public concerns are growing after radiation-contaminated water has leaked from the Fukushima nuclear plant,” Prime Minister Chung Hong Won’s office said in an e-mailed statement. “It’s uncertain how this situation has developed in Japan and it’s difficult to predict the future only with the information provided by Japan so far.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said this week that he would end what he called the country’s ad-hoc response to dealing with Fukushima as the government announced plans to spend more than $470 million to stop the leaks. The new concerns about Fukushima may also weigh on Tokyo’s prospects of being chosen to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. With a decision expected tomorrow, Tokyo is favored to win though its odds have declined in recent days, according to betting websites.

Inspection Standards

Japanese food and water are already subjected to the world’s toughest inspection standards, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said when he was asked about the South Korean decision at a briefing today in Tokyo.

“International standards are enforced on Japanese food, including marine products,” he said. “We have strict safety management based on that. In cases where tests show radiation is above the standards, we prevent shipping and so these products will not be distributed to the market.”

Suga said the radioactive water that leaked into the sea only affected an area of 0.3 square kilometers (0.12 square miles) within the bay surrounding the Fukushima plant.

Even within that area, radiation levels are “far below those permitted,” he said. “There is absolutely no effect.”

The Japanese government is struggling to find ways of dealing with the hundreds of thousands of tons of contaminated water building up at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant. The government’s latest plan calls for building an underground frozen wall to block groundwater from flowing into basements at the plant and an improved water treatment plant, according to Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Davis in Hong Kong at abdavis@bloomberg.net

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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