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Hong Kong: ‘We don’t see a surge in prices’ – Restaurant owner reacts to Japanese seafood ban following Fukushima water release

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Workers in Hong Kong’s seafood industry shared their thoughts on Sunday regarding the ban imposed on Japanese products following the discharge of treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Footage shows customers inside a local supermarket browsing seafood products as well as patrons ordering food inside a Japanese sushi restaurant.

On Thursday, Shu Yuting, China’s Minister of Commerce, announced a complete suspension of seafood product imports from Japan in ten prefectures of Hong Kong.

Earlier that day, Japanese authorities activated pumps and valves for the first discharge of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima plant into the Pacific Ocean.

« For people who are afraid of it or are deterred from it, they are not going to go back to Japanese restaurants any time soon. But I think far more people, especially in Hong Kong, who love Japanese food will continue to go,” said a local seafood restaurant owner.

« We don’t see a surge in prices yet. I’m not sure if that is going to come in place, I think it is just a matter of supply and demand. But I think so far we are still okay and in good shape, » he added.

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant produces some 100,000 litres of contaminated water every day. An estimated 1.33 million tonnes needed to cool the cores of nuclear reactors that went into meltdown in 2011 are stored on-site and are expected to reach maximum capacity imminently.

The plan was approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in July, although it has faced criticism both domestically and abroad, including from China and South Korea amid fears over food safety.

The Hong Kong government expressed “strong opposition” to the controversial plan, while the Japanese consul general said it was “extremely regrettable” that the city was going ahead with the ban.

The Hong Kong Secretary for Environment and Ecology Tse Chin-wan said the “precautionary measures” were necessary to ensure food safety as Tokyo had failed to “offer a good answer” on how it would eliminate the risks posed by the discharge plan.

The wastewater has been treated to rid it of radioactive substances, with the exception of tritium, which could not be removed using existing technologies.

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