Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

China Bars Japanese Food From Region Near Plant [New York Times]


Like the United States, Russia, Australia, Singapore and South Korea, China has banned the import of specific Japanese products. The authority in question is the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (中华人民共和国国家质量监督检验检疫总局)

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China Bars Japanese Food From Region Near Plant
By ANDREW JACOBS
Source – New York Times, published: March 25, 2011

BEIJING — China on Friday joined several other nations that have sought to limit potential radioactive contamination from Japan, by banning fish, vegetables and other food products from regions closest to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The measures were announced the same day Chinese officials said they had detected elevated radioactivity on a Japanese merchant vessel that had docked in southeast China. Farther up the coast, two Japanese tourists who arrived earlier in the week were said to have emitted “abnormally high” levels of radiation.

Officials did not specify the extent of contamination and said it posed no threat to the public, but the episodes highlighted China’s anxiety over the possible effects of Japan’s nuclear crisis. Last week, fears about spreading toxicity prompted a salt-buying panic among Chinese in the mistaken belief it might protect them from radiation poisoning.

The concerns are not China’s alone. In the two weeks since an earthquake and devastating tsunami hit the Fukushima plant, countries including the United States, Russia, Australia, Singapore and South Korea have banned specific Japanese products or announced heightened monitoring of imports that could have been contaminated by radioactive emissions from the stricken facility. Taiwan has also restricted imports.

Although there have been few reported instances of contamination outside Japan, on Thursday Hong Kong blocked shipments of radishes and spinach from the five prefectures closest to the plant, after finding radiation levels in some batches as much as 10 times higher than permissible.

In a statement posted on its Web site, China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said it would temporarily restrict dairy products, fruits and fish, among other items, from the five prefectures, while stepping up checks on a variety of agricultural and aquatic produce from across Japan.

The case of the Japanese airline passengers raised more questions than were answered. According to health officials, the travelers landed in the eastern city of Wuxi on Wednesday and were found to have radiation levels that “seriously exceeded standards.” But they said that the contamination was neither a threat to the tourists nor to the public, and that the two had been given iodine tablets and released after their luggage and clothing had been “decontaminated,” the agency said.

As for the Japanese ship, officials in the port city of Xiamen in Fujian Province said Friday that they had found “abnormal” radiation readings on the vessel, according to Xinhua, the state news agency. Xinhua added that it was unclear whether the contamination was found on the ship itself or within specific cargo. It said the ship left Tokyo on March 17

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Filed under: Disaster, Economics, Environment, International Relations, japan, Natural Disasters, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Trade

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