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Update: Second largest Japanese seafood importer Hong Kong to ban seafood imports from 10 Japan prefectures, from Miyagi to Nagano

▩ Update

 

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.

▩ Further Actions

 

Moving forward, the Hong Kong government will enhance radiation testing on Japanese food imported to Hong Kong. It will also publish data on radiation levels in samples of Japanese food imported into the city. At present, the Hong Kong government has published its radiation testing of Japanese food for the month of July 2023 (see Figure 2).

 

Proportion of samples of Japanese food tested for radiation in Hong Kong from March 2011 to July 2023.
Figure 2: Radiation Tests on Food Imported from Japan as at July 2023 4

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.

▩ Sources

 
  1. “Japanese seafood imports restricted” – news.gov.hk (https://www.news.gov.hk/eng/2023/08/20230822/20230822_162308_864.html)
  2. “Export results of agricultural, forestry and fishery products and foods in 2022” – Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (https://www.maff.go.jp/j/press/yusyutu_kokusai/kikaku/attach/pdf/230203-1.pdf)
  3. “Japan expects big hit from Hong Kong ban on most of its seafood” – Business Times (https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/international/japan-expects-big-hit-hong-kong-ban-most-its-seafood)
  4. “Monthly situation update of food surveillance on food imported from Japan (As at 31 July 2023)” – Centre of Food Safety, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (https://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/programme/programme_rafs/files/Monthly_Update_of_Japan_31_7_2023.pdf)