TOKYO – Japan exported on Thursday a consignment of fish caught off the coast of Fukushima to Thailand, the first such shipment from the region since a massive nuclear accident seven years ago.
The shipment – that arrived at a port in the Soma town, around 50 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi reactor, which has released multiple discharges of contaminated water in the sea since the accident – included 110 kilograms of two varieties of flounder set to be delivered to around a dozen Japanese restaurants in Bangkok, a spokesperson of fishermen’s guild in Fukushima prefecture told EFE.
The Fukushima Prefectural Government had negotiated the deal with a Thai trading company, which does not impose restrictions on marine products from Japan over contamination fears after the nuclear accident that took place after an earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
The head of the product promotion department of the local government told EFE they are hopeful this order will open up more opportunities for export to other countries too.
Japanese authorities maintain strict controls over all agricultural, livestock and fishing products from the area, which are already being sold in the country, although agriculture and livestock farming very close to the plant are still banned.
Dozens of countries continue to limit or ban the import of Japanese products coming from Fukushima, fearing lingering effects of radiation, although the European Union had partly lifted its restrictions in December.
The prefecture’s fishermen had returned to fishing in the summer of 2012 and their catch is allowed to reach the market after they secure a clearance certificate from Japanese authorities.
Despite this, production in 2017 had lagged at 13 percent of pre-disaster levels.
The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is considered the worst since Chernobyl (Ukraine) in 1986 and had displaced thousands and dealt a severe blow to the local economy.