TOKYO, Aug 31 — Japan will tap additional funds to help the fisheries industry after China banned Japanese seafood in response to the release of water from the Fukushima nuclear plant last week, the Nikkei reported on Thursday.
The additional several tens of billions of yen (hundreds of millions of dollar) will be tapped from the government's budget reserves for the current fiscal year, the Nikkei said.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected announce the new measures on Thursday after his visit to the Toyosu fish market in Tokyo, Japanese media have reported.
Japan started releasing treated radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean last Thursday, prompting China, Japan's biggest trade partner, to impose a blanket ban on Japanese aquatic products.
Tokyo's government has set up two funds worth ¥80 billion (RM2.54 billion) to help develop new sales channels and keep excess fish frozen until they can be sold when demand recovers, among other measures. Officials have previously denied the possibility of additional fiscal measures for the industry.
More than 700 Japanese companies exported about US$600 million worth of aquatic products to China in 2022, making it the biggest market for Japanese exports, followed by Hong Kong, which announced its own ban on seafood imports from 10 Japanese regions after the Fukushima release.
Fisheries Minister Tetsuro Nomura said last Friday that the government would take steps to diversify Japan's fish exports for China-dependent products such as scallops. China took more than half of Japanese scallop exports in 2022.
Some Japanese officials have also signalled diplomatic actions to urge China to lift the ban, which Tokyo says is not based on scientific evidence, including filing a World Trade Organization (WTO) complaint. — Reuters