15 Mars 2018
March 13, 2018
Bangkok restaurants stop serving fish recently imported from Fukushima Pref.
FUKUSHIMA -- Eleven Japanese restaurants in the Thai capital of Bangkok have stopped serving imported fish caught off the coast of the Fukushima prefectural city of Soma, the prefectural government here said on March 12.
The decision of each restaurant came following fears that they might experience a backlash and a reduction in customer numbers -- fueled by citizen group protests that have spread online -- even though Thailand does not restrict the import of goods from Fukushima Prefecture.
Consignments of fresh seafood including flounder, fluke and octopus have been exported from Fukushima Prefecture to Thailand since late February -- the first export of seafood from the prefecture since the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)'s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in 2011. It is not sure when the restaurants will start offering the fish again.
According to the Fukushima Prefectural Government, 143 kilograms of fish have been exported to Thailand since Feb. 28, with about 50 kilograms being consumed at an event starting on March 2 that was jointly hosted by the 11 restaurants.
However, consumer groups in Thailand have been directing protests toward the country's Ministry of Public Health, saying, "Don't make citizens here eat dangerous fish." Meanwhile, the ministry has stated that a thorough inspection has been conducted and the fish is safe.
Event promoting Fukushima fish cancelled
An event in Thailand promoting flounder from Fukushima has been cancelled amid concerns from consumers.
The event was being held at a Japanese restaurant and scheduled to run through the end of the month. The export of flounder caught in waters off Fukushima was resumed on March 1st for the first time since the 2011 nuclear accident.
The Fukushima prefectural government says a consumer group raised concerns about the safety of the fish. The group said the fish were caught in contaminated waters and dangerous to eat.
The group also reportedly demanded the Thai government announce the name of a local restaurant that sold the fish.
Consumers took to social media to voice their concerns.
Organizers say they cancelled the event to avoid confusion.
Nearly 130 kilograms of flounder have been exported from Fukushima to Thailand but close to half remains untouched. Exports are essentially halted.
A Fukushima government official said the prefecture will continue to promote the safety of the fish in hopes of once again resuming the exports.
Thai govt. detects no radiation in Fukushima fish
The government of Japan's Fukushima Prefecture hopes to export more flounder to Thailand after the Thai government's tests showed no radioactive substances in the fish.
Exports of flounder caught off Fukushima resumed on March 1st for the first time since the 2011 nuclear accident. The fish were the first marine products from the prefecture to be sold abroad since the accident.
The flounder was being promoted at Japanese restaurants in Thailand. But the promotion was cancelled on Monday after local consumers voiced concerns about the fish's safety. Flounder exports have essentially been halted.
Fukushima prefectural officials say they were notified late on Monday that the Thai health ministry detected no radioactive material in the fish.
They plan to call attention to the fish's safety through online video sites, social media and food tasting events for local consumers.