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Russia has joined China in imposing restrictions on fish and seafood imports from Japan, Russia's agricultural regulator Rosselkhoznadzor said on Monday.
Japan began discharging treated radioactive water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean in August, a move Tokyo said was safe but criticized by China, which subsequently banned all seafood imports from Japan.
Russia said the restrictions were imposed as a "precautionary measure" and would remain in place until comprehensive information showed the seafood was safe.
Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said Monday that Russia's ban "has no scientific basis and is unfair and regrettable," and called for it to be lifted, Kyodo News reported.
Japan's foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday, before Russia announced the ban, that the relevant state agencies had provided Russia with more information by Oct. 15 after an online dialogue on Oct. 10, the ministry said.
Monday's statement said, "Japan will continue to provide Russia with explanations based on scientific evidence in a highly transparent manner and in good faith, while accepting the review of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)."
On Oct. 10, Japan's foreign ministry said the Japanese side had explained to Russia the method of checking for radioactive substances such as tritium in aquatic products as well as "the safety of Japanese aquatic products based on scientific evidence."
A large portion of Russian fish and seafood is caught in the waters of the Far East, which is closer to Japan. In addition, according to Rosselkhoznadzor, Russia imported 118 tons of fish and seafood from Japan between January and September.
Meanwhile, Japan is one of the largest export markets for Russian seafood, along with China and South Korea.
The International Atomic Energy Agency's Marine Environment Laboratory will visit Japan Oct. 16-23 to inspect the Fukushima water release, and independent third-party labs from Canada, China and South Korea will participate in this year's monitoring.
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