Restaurant owners in Hong Kong are preparing for a ban on imports of seafood from Japanese waters after Japan announced that it would be releasing treated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea this week.
The Japanese government confirmed this week that it would be releasing water from the tanks of the Fukushima nuclear power station on Thursday (24 August). The plant was crippled by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, causing the biggest nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.
Although approved by the UN nuclear watchdog, the plan to pour the treated water into the ocean has sparked concerns from those both within Japan and outside of it, including the Chinese government.
Chinese deputy foreign minister Sun Weidong gave his damning verdict of the Japanese decision, calling it “extremely selfish” and claiming that it “clearly transfers the risk of nuclear pollution to neighbouring countries”.
It is now suspected that a ban on imports of seafood caught in Japanese waters is imminent. It isn’t just fish, crustaceans and molluscs that will be prohibited – seaweed and even sea salt from the following areas may be slapped with the ban: Fukushima, Gunma, Chiba, Tokyo, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Miyagi, Nagano, Niigata, and Saitama.
One of the major markets for Japanese seafood is Hong Kong, where it is served in the territory’s numerous sushi restaurants.
Halry Yu, who owns Japanese Restaurant Hassun, was reported in Yahoo News as saying: “If they ban imports that come via Tokyo, I think all sushi restaurants in Hong Kong will be in trouble. There are some seafood supplies from Osaka, but variety is limited.”
Yu predicted a 40% drop in revenue due to the predicted seafood shortage, but revealed his contingency plan: “Meat will become the main theme of the menu. We will start putting barbecued skewers and fried food on our menu that we never had before, to keep the operation running.”
This article was originally published by the drinks business and has been shared with permission.