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Japan to ask WTO for ruling on food dispute with S Korea

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Tokyo also said South Korea had “failed to provide the required information about the measures taken, and their lack of consistency or justification”.

I for one would think that Tokyo is the one that should be providing required information and measures to ensure the safety of the products they are trying to export.

Fukushima and the ensuing dumping of contaminated water into the ocean should be justification enough to have a ban put in place.

8 ( +16 / -8 )

Yubaru. If we send it to the WTO and they say its O.K. then why cry?

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Perry complex?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yubaru. If we send it to the WTO and they say its O.K. then why cry?

The WTO hasn't ruled on anything as of yet, and btw, do YOU eat seafood caught from the waters around Fukushima?

Wait, don't answer that, I can already see the glow.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

"...do YOU eat seafood caught from the waters around Fukushima?"

Seems like this is about a total ban on seafood from everywhere in Japan, not just Fukushima.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Seems like this is about a total ban on seafood from everywhere in Japan, not just Fukushima.

After the whole relabeling of rice from Fukushima fiasco, I think this is a sensible precaution to take.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Japan banned all beef from the US when a single case of Mad Cow was found. Seems they are ok with doing it, just not with having it done.

No country should be able to force another to buy its food if they are not comfortable with it.

18 ( +24 / -6 )

The seafood isn't coming from around Fukushima.

It's just an excuse for protectionism.

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

Unlike the duped Japanese consumer, at least the Koreans know where their imports come from! For the Japanese consumer there is no way to know as labeling food 'kokunaisan, 国内産' takes away freedom of choice.....

7 ( +12 / -5 )

I can understand the idea of taking it ot the WTO in the case of racism or some other non-scientific non-safety related reason...but Japan has a LONG history of relabeling and dealing with the problems AFTER the fact... you know, the whole "dijobu...until it's suddenly no longer dijobu" culture.

With all that in mind, perhaps Japan should consider harsher punishments for those that DO get caught relabeling...ie "end of business, go to jail, your company is shut down". Increased risk = less likely to happen.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

@kurisupisu: For the Japanese consumer there is no way to know as labeling food 'kokunaisan, 国内産' takes away freedom of choice.....

Hardly. Every decent supermarket gives you the prefecture where the fresh fruits and vegetables they sell are produced. While cheap meat is usually labeled 国産, more often than not you get the name of the prefecture with higher priced products. And then, you always have the option of buying imported food which nowadays is on the shelves of every supermarket and is labeled as 'オーストラリア産`,’アメリカ産’,'韓国産',etc. etc.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

what is going to be left of the regional fishing industry once the nuclear water waste is dumped into the ocean?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The article states that Japan was attempting to reach an agreement with South Korea. I'm sure that as part of those talks Japan was willing to guarantee that seafood imports were not from the Fukushima area (or anywhere near there) But of course, that won't satisfy the skeptics commenting on JT.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

JaneM,

What if its mislabeled? Food is always mislabeled in this country.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

wait wait wait, Japan doesn't buy US beef for 5 years but now is complaining about another country not buying their product?

11 ( +15 / -4 )

radioactively in food in low amounts bio-accumulates into larger amounts in higher organisms, particularly children, who are still developing. Thus, what public health measures are being taken by anyone? If zero, then SK has a legitimate concern. If something, then the WTO will rule in favour, but I doubt it.

as usual it will depend on where the cashola turns, not science, especially when science trumps cashola

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Last October, the Japanese representative at the WTO committee said contamination levels in more than 99 percent of food items were below standard limits, and strict measures prevented the sale or export of any food exceeding those limits.

Since measurement of food is so spotty, both from the importer and exporter, a statement like this is not only meaningless, but deceptive. Further, if every country’s contamination limits are different, in reality, there are no standard limits, no matter what the WTO or Japan contends. It means that the various country limits set for radioactive cesium in food may no longer protect from the increased health impact of the strontium 90 that may be lurking in imports from Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@goldnugget

While there have been some cases of food mislabeling, I would not use the word “always.” If mislabeling food was a common practice, why would the shops bother at all to write down the place where the food was produced? Labeling the produce 国産that is required by law. It is doubtful they do it just to make their work more labor-intensive.

However, the supermarkets in the area I live sell produce from Fukushima prefecture, too, and it is always clearly labeled as such with big kanji characters.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Pot meet kettle much? This is a perfect example of how the Japanese cry foul when their products one under scrutiny (and for good reasoning!), but if it's another nation's goods they say they are within their rights to refuse. If the US sends cow parts banned in Japan beef imports are rightly suspended until the problem is solved. How does Japan feel when Senators try to demand they restart beef imports and ease restrictions? Likewise Korea has banned import of products from certain prefectures when Japan failed to meet import safety requirements. Now Japan is crying! Hypocrites, and poor sports to boot! They think they are the victims and can FORCE other nations to import their goods, even while some spit on SK for the rejection. Absurd!

9 ( +14 / -5 )

@JaneM There are many (indecent sic) supermarkets after Fukushima that do not provide detailed information. That still leaves many many people unaware of where food is sourced.And how about your food in restaurants? No labels there.......

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Koreans shouldn't worry about eating fish imported from Japan, I have no doubt that Shinzo Abe will take care of all the hospital expenses and the funeral cost for dumb Korean people. Since Korea was Japan's colony for 36 years Japan still has right to impose their imperial power over their subjects.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

"I think South Korean government should ban all Japanese produces, period, doesn't matter if they come from Fukushima region or not. All Japanese produces are contaminated from radiation fallouts."

Really? Can you back that up in any way?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Overchan: the areas in question are known to have mislabeled and "self-inspected", etc., and in any case it's not up to Japan if others buy their goods or not; it's up to the customer.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Japanese food is contaminated with nuclear radiation yet Japan is trying to force it down other people's throats? Japan needs to learn about ethics.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

and in any case it's not up to Japan if others buy their goods or not; it's up to the customer.

So let them and not have the government interfere. The biggest stink to this is SK placing false claim to another nation's product so they can protect their own industry.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

JaneM: Fish from the affected regions are often labelled simply as "pacific ocean", not specifying prefectures. Some products have escaped irradiated zones are later to be found on supermarket shelves, such tea, rice, and other produce to which the government says, "whoops! We'll take temps to not do that again (and get caught)", or that "we should all eat it to prove its safe", etc.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

So let them and not have the government interfere

Do you feel the same when Japan bans beef?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Unlike many Japan-Korea spats/disagreements, this one is not without a solution. Both Japan and South Korea belong to the WTO and are dealing with this in the context of the framework that is in place under WTO guidelines.

As such, while many commenters here are providing their views on the stance of each side, this will resolve itself. It will likely not be to the satisfaction of one side, but it will be resolved/addressed.

I am interested in the outcome of the WTO ruling. Undoubtedly it will address some of the issues/points commenters are raising here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Whether the food is safe is irrelevant. Well..mostly. You can have the safest food in the world, but if nobody believes you, then you still have work to do.

Japan (well, various groups within Japan) has a very real history of dishonesty that it has to deal with.

Numerous corporate scandals/lies/coverups; Radiation data not released and/or lied about; re-labeling food... the list goes on.

And no, it doesn't matter if China or Korea have similar or worse happenings. Japan wants other countries to buy their goods. It needs the money. China and Korea, simply, don't.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

So let them and not have the government interfere. The biggest stink to this is SK placing false claim to another nation's product so they can protect their own industry.

Japanese complaining about other country's 'protectionism', well, if ain't the pot calling the kettle black! Unbelievable! And what false claim is being put on Japan's products, if I may ask? Are you seriously claiming products from Fukushima are safe to eat? Honestly Japan?

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Seems to me like Korea is perfectly happy to lift the ban, otherwise they wouldn't even agree to negotiations. They are probably asking for too much out it because they know Japan is in a corner, in this instance.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ Papi: Are you seriously claiming products from Fukushima are safe to eat? Honestly Japan?

A strip of about 80 km long and 10-15 km wide running from Fukushima Dai-ichi to the City of Fukushima was contaminated in the days after the accident. Fukushima, however, is a very large prefecture and most of it still produces food which is within the Japanese legal limit of 100 Bq/kg. For your information, the standard limits of radiation cesium in foods in general are: 1250 Bq/kg, for EU; 1000 Bq/kg for the Codex Criteria, an international guideline; and 100 Bq/kg for Japan. For more detailed inspection results in 2013 see http://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/english/html/current-situation-japan-food.pdf#search='limits+for+food+radioactivity+in+Japan'

@kurisupisu: There are many (indecent sic) supermarkets after Fukushima that do not provide detailed information. That still leaves many many people unaware of where food is sourced.

So those people, if they are really concerned, can still choose to buy food at supermarkets which provide more detailed information on the origin of their sea products and agricultural produce. Again, I would not say that the “Japanese consumer” has no freedom of choice.

@kurisupisu: And how about your food in restaurants? No labels there.......

No labels does not mean mislabeling. And you have the choice of not going to restaurants if the lack of information on food origin concerns you. Also, there are still many restaurants which do provide info on the origin of the ingredients they use (though I would not say that there are many ordinary izakayas among them)

@smith: JaneM: Fish from the affected regions are often labelled simply as "pacific ocean", not specifying prefectures.

I was replying to kurisupisu’s claim on lack of choice. As with meat and fresh agricultural produce, you have the option of buying sea products imported from Russia, Chile, New Zealand, Spain, etc.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

If it is just protectionism, you have to admit that it's a pretty good excuse.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

its fine if Japan wants to go to the WTO, thats what there there for, just dont complain when other countries take Japan to the WTO for similar problems. its a two way street.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Papi: When Japan was caught dumping radiation water into the Pacific, it badly damaged the South Korean fishing industry because Koreans couldn't trust that the fish on sale were not Japanese imports.

Papi, are you trying to tell us that the Korean government and fishing companies may not be telling its people the truth about the origin of the fish?

Just for the record, though, it was not Japan but the Dai-ichi operator TEPCO which dumped the contaminated water into the Pacific. As always, we can rely on your un-biased opinions.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

i dont get it:

the usual japan-bashing headline is that japanese are eating all the fish from the seas, including whales, and that there are not enough fish in this whole wide world to sustain japanese fish gluttony.

but now there is such an abundance of fish, that japan needs to export it, to avoid a great economic depression.
-6 ( +0 / -6 )

@takahiro: you are right, you don't get it.

Fish does not equal a few specific, albeit important species.

In this case they are talking about exporting various fish, with no specific connection to, say, tuna.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

AFP, this issue has nothing to do with history or territory.

Japan imports from SK fish, dried fish, seaweed, nori, kimuchi, pepper, etc. so stop importing those food from them until WTO ruling.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

South Korea has imposed limited bans on seafood from Japan, compared to a wider blanket ban by Taiwan. But Japan complains to WTO about South Korea.. hmmmm

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

JaneM: "I was replying to kurisupisu’s claim on lack of choice. As with meat and fresh agricultural produce, you have the option of buying sea products imported from Russia, Chile, New Zealand, Spain, etc."

You still miss the whole point. Japan doesn't NEED to offer those choices, especially if there is a clear violation of import policy and/or standards, or just if the standards aren't being met to begin with, as with US beef. That is NOT Japan's problem (the beef); it is entirely up to the US side to meet the standards of Japan and live up to their methods of testing if they want their beef imported here. Japan has every right to say no, despite US Senators trying to pass laws to make Japan import it -- which is the same kind of whining Japan is engaging in here by, instead of meeting SK's needs, is demanding they import Japanese goods because Japan says so.

Takahiro Domingo: "i dont get it: the usual japan-bashing..."

That's right, you clearly don't get it at all.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

which is the same kind of whining Japan is engaging in here by, instead of meeting SK's needs, is demanding they import Japanese goods because Japan says so.

Ok. I'll bite.

What is this "meeting SK's needs" exactly?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

JaneM, "However, the supermarkets in the area I live sell produce from Fukushima prefecture, too, and it is always clearly labeled as such with big kanji characters."

Your assuming they are always telling the truth.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Kokunai only started after Fukushima, am I wrong?

All the contaminated water in those leaking storage tanks should be dumped. Learn math to see why it is ok.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I just hope that the US do not allow food from Japan (Fukushima). I don't go to Yoshinoya because they grow their vegetables and rice from Fukushima.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Japanese go on and on about their "rice culture" and the BS about Japanese intestines not being able to digest foreign beef, and now they want to complain becasue another country with VALID concerns doesn't want to buy their radioactive cr#p?

I'll bet money that the first people to be sold radioactive food that can't be eaten in Japan will be other asians- particularly the Koreans and Chinese as they are hated so much here

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The above commentators are right about Japan's protectionalism. Don't forget the BS aboout rice culture and the myth about how American beef can't be digested. Now all of a sudden they boo hoo about Korea not buying their products??

Korean causes for concern are justified. The Japanese government has not been transparent on the whole radiation issue. They just keep raising the acceptable radiation limit for food. They're turning the reactors without fixing the Tohoku situation. This kind of irresponsible behavior is certainly cause for concern and makes Japan's neighbors wary of her products. Again, as mentioned above, the Fukushima rice scandal comes to light. Japan's rulers have proved even more dishonest than their Chinese counterparts.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Korean causes for concern are justified. The Japanese government has not been transparent on the whole radiation issue. They just keep raising the acceptable radiation limit for food

Baloney. Japan reduced the tolerance to 100 Bq/kg and not a single shipment exported to Korea exceeded that amount prior to this current ban (a couple days before the Tokyo Olympic bid success announcement. Classy). FYI, the said tolerance limit was lower than that of Korea's own 350 Bq/kg. Get your facts straight.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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