On 22 August 2023, the Hong Kong government has announced that Hong Kong will prohibit seafood imports from the below-listed 10 prefectures (hereinafter referred to as “Affected Prefectures”): Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Niigata, and Nagano.1 The prohibition targets all forms of seafood from the Affected Prefectures (i.e., live, frozen, chilled, dried, or otherwise preserved, as well as sea salt and unprocessed/processed seaweed).
This restriction is made in response to the Japanese government’s confirmed release of ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System)-treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the ocean on 24 August 2023.
The plan has faced strong opposition among other countries/regions such as China and Hong Kong. The aforementioned countries/regions are also major exporters of Japanese agricultural/forestry/aquatic products. In 2022, Hong Kong alone took up 15.6% market share and aquatic products imports from Japan trade is worth 75.5 billion yen (approx. 521 million USD).2
Therefore, the new prohibitions will likely have negative impact on Japan’s seafood trade to Hong Kong. In a Business Times news report, an unnamed official from Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries indicated that Japan should expect “significant” impact from Hong Kong’s new restrictions.
As at time of writing, the Hong Kong government has not stated how long will the prohibition last. We will be pleased to provide further updates to the situation and its impact on Japanese trade overseas, where applicable.