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Economy

Japan touts completion of Fukushima cleanup to China, South Korea

South Korea began testing fish for radiation contamination after the Fukushima meltdown in 2011. It has banned imports of Japanese seafood from some prefectures since then.   © Reuters

SINGAPORE (Kyodo) -- Japanese Environment Minister Masaharu Nakagawa told his counterparts from China and South Korea on Sunday that radioactive decontamination work following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster is "all done" except for so-called difficult-to-return zones.

At the 20th Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting held in Suzhou, eastern China, Nakagawa also used the opportunity to again request the lifting of food import restrictions from Japanese regions hit by the Fukushima disaster.

Beijing has banned food imports from 10 Japanese prefectures surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi plant, while Seoul has blocked Japanese seafood imports from eight prefectures.

Nakagawa explained to Chinese Ecology and Environment Minister Li Ganjie and South Korean Environment Minister Kim Eun Kyung that Japan has strict food safety standards in place that exceed international requirements. "Environmental regeneration in Fukushima is progressing steadily," he said.

The three ministers also agreed on a policy to discuss the problem of plastic microparticles and their effect on marine pollution at a Group of 20 ministerial meeting on energy transitions and the global environment for sustainable growth in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, next June.

In addition, they adopted a joint statement including a pledge to promote information sharing on the problem of venomous fire ants, which have over the past year repeatedly been brought to Japan in containers shipped from China.

The ministers also decided to hold next year's tripartite meeting in Japan. It has been held annually in rotation among the three countries since 1999.

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