China's Japan seafood imports sink 40% over nuclear water release

China's seafood imports from Japan sank 40.9 percent from a year earlier in 2023, Chinese customs data showed Thursday, after Beijing introduced a total ban on marine products shipped from the neighboring country last August.

Due to the ban imposed in response to the discharge of treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea, China's seafood imports from Japan dropped to $299.49 million last year, their lowest level since 2020 when bilateral trade shrank amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the data showed.

Beijing has strongly opposed the release of the treated water, calling it "nuclear-contaminated," and demanded Japan halt it immediately.

China's total marine product imports from Japan in 2023 did not change from the accumulated amount between January and November last year, suggesting that virtually no items were shipped in December.

As the nuclear water discharge has led some Chinese consumers to boycott Japanese cosmetics and food products among others, total Chinese imports from Japan in 2023 fell 12.9 percent compared with the previous year, according to the data.

In November, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida agreed at a summit near San Francisco that the two countries will hold expert consultations to solve a row over the water release.

The International Atomic Energy Agency concluded in a report in July that the Fukushima water discharge plan aligns with global safety standards and will have a "negligible" impact on people and the environment.

© Kyodo News