Restaurants in China Seek Alternatives Amid Ongoing Fukushima Water Dumping Concerns
China stopped buying seafood from Japan because they were worried about radiation from Japan’s polluted water going into the sea. Recent information from Japan reveals that the ban has had big effects on both politics and money. In September, Japan almost didn’t sell any fish to China.This ban was started by China’s customs people in August. They did it to keep Chinese people safe from possibly unsafe food. Japan’s new data shows that China barely bought any fish in September.
Drastic Decline in Japanese Seafood Exports to China
Japan’s exports of fishery products to the Chinese mainland in September experienced a staggering 99.3 percent decrease from the previous year, according to a report by Japan’s Jiji Press. The ban had a particularly stark impact on scallop exports, which had been a mainstay of Japanese fishery exports to Chinese cities. In September, the value of scallop exports registered at zero.
Amid these concerns, Chinese consumers are becoming increasingly cautious when it comes to seafood purchases. A Beijing resident expressed this sentiment, saying, “These days, I definitely pay extra attention to the origin of seafood when making a purchase, and I’m more inclined to choosing domestic products.” They also mentioned a reduction in the frequency of seafood purchases due to food safety concerns, especially with a young child in the household.
On Chinese social media platforms, many Japanese restaurant owners have shared their stories of adapting their businesses. They have transitioned away from Japanese ingredients due to heightened consumer wariness surrounding seafood, prompted by Japan’s nuclear-contaminated water disposal.
The ban, announced by China’s China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) on August 24, was framed as a precautionary measure to protect Chinese consumers from the potential risk of radioactive contamination resulting from Japan’s actions. Data from the China Chamber of Commerce of Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce, and Animal By-products revealed that China imported $29 million worth of aquatic products and derivatives from Japan in August, representing a 63 percent year-on-year decrease.
GAC data for September indicated that China’s imports of seafood from Japan had effectively reached zero, highlighting the enduring impact of the ban.
This situation showcases the intricate interplay between politics, environmental safety, and consumer preferences, which continues to shape the trade dynamics between these two countries. The ban on Japanese seafood exports to China has both economic and political implications, and its effects are being felt by producers and consumers on both sides.