Seafood from Japan is under inspection for possible radioactive contamination. [photo by Lee Seung-hwan]
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is expected to announce its ruling on an appeal filed by the South Korean government after it lost the first trial over its ban on seafood imports from Fukushima in the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear accident.
The WTO’s dispute settlement body is expected to deliver its final ruling around April, according to sources from the government on Monday, after siding with Japan in its first ruling in February 22 in 2018 saying that South Korea’s import restrictions on Japanese seafood were in violation of WTO’s sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) agreement. South Korean trade ministry filed an appeal in April, 2018.
If the WTO rules in favor of Japan in the final ruling, South Korean would have up to 15 months to make a settlement with Japan over the impart ban.
The Korean government issued import bans of agricultural produce and seafood from Fukushima immediately after the nuclear reactor meltdown caused by earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. In 2013, it took a special measure to ban imports of all seafood products from eight prefectures near Fukushima. Japan filed a complaint with the WTO in May 2015, arguing that the measures discriminated against Japanese seafood products and citing unfairness in the South Korean government’s demand for additional testing for radionuclide.
By Kim Tae-joon and Choi Mira
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