Cambodia imports seafood “washed” by Japanese nuclear wastewater, China bans it, but Cambodia allows it​

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[INNEWS Comprehensive Report] On September 3, Cambodian Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Penn Sovicheat said that although Japan plans to discharge treated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean from August 24, Cambodia has not banned the import of seafood from Japan.

He explained that this was because Japan complied with technical specifications and obtained approval from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before discharging radioactive wastewater into the sea. Currently, Japan has begun dumping treated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea. China has taken immediate action to ban seafood imports from Japan, but no international agency has yet issued any statement on the environmental risks or impacts of radioactive wastewater on seafood. Therefore, Cambodia maintains trade relations with Japan based on practical and scientific factors, including its obligations as a member of the WTO.

Penn Sovicheat also said that the International Atomic Energy Agency claims that reactor wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant is as safe as treated wastewater from other nuclear power plants around the world. Unless there is clear scientific evidence that Fukushima seawater or radioactive wastewater discharged into the sea contains substances that affect the marine environment and endanger people’s health, it will be difficult for Cambodia to ban the import of Japanese seafood.

Penn Sovicheat pointed out that some seafood currently on the Cambodian market, especially salmon and tuna, are actually imported from Vietnam, China and other countries. However, Cambodia still allows the import of seafood from Japan and does not prohibit the import of any type of seafood. At the same time, based on the actual situation and the above-mentioned scientific factors, including its obligations as a member of the WTO, Cambodia still maintains trade relations with Japan.

The Cambodian Ministry of Commerce released a report that Cambodia’s seafood imports from Japan in 2021 were worth approximately US$680,000, and the import volume in 2022 reached US$1.1 million. In the first eight months of this year, Cambodia imported about US$380,000 worth of seafood from Japan. Cambodia imports mostly frozen seafood from Japan, including shark fins, lobsters, crabs, etc.