According to the Sankei Shimbun on September 15, the U.S. Embassy in Japan has begun to provide independent support for Japanese fishermen in the wake of China’s total suspension of imports of Japanese marine products following the release of treated water from TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean. Given that the majority of Japanese scallops, which are the largest exported product, are processed in China before being re-exported to the U.S., the U.S. Embassy in Japan is brokering exports to processing facilities in Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, which are registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and from there establishing routes to re-export the scallops to the U.S.
Originally, scallops from Japan were often exported to the U.S. after being shelled and processed at facilities in China. In the past year, the U.S. imported more than $100 million (about 14.7 billion yen) of Japanese scallops via China. This time, this route is no longer available due to China’s total embargo, and there were concerns about a decrease in income for Japanese fishermen.
At the facility that the U.S. is facilitating this time, scallops can be processed in the same way as in China. In addition, the facility is registered with the FDA, which is required for food processing for export to the U.S., so that a series of export procedures will be facilitated.
At the U.S. Embassy, officials have visited Tohoku and Hokkaido to introduce the facilities in the three countries and regions to fishermen and others involved in fishery cooperatives. The U.S. side hopes to demonstrate the unity of Japan and the U.S. in opposing the unfair embargo and to minimize the impact on Japanese marine products imported via China.
In contrast to China’s overzealous political decision to impose a total embargo on Japanese seafood, the U.S. stands with Japan. U.S. Ambassador to Japan Emanuel visited Soma City in Fukushima Prefecture at the end of August and also issued a statement of support for Japan.
Click here for overseas exports of scallops, tuna, and other marine products.
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