- Title: SOUTH KOREA/FILE: Seoul bans some Japan food on radiation fears
- Date: 26th March 2011
- Summary: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (FILE) (REUTERS) EXTERIORS OF SOUTH KOREA'S GOVERNMENT COMPLEX
- Embargoed: 10th April 2011 13:00
- Location: Korea, Republic of
- Country: South Korea
- Topics: International Relations,Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Reuters ID: LVADQBGWAMYW2VF824ZWDBXCBDS2
- Story Text: South Korea has banned food imports from four areas of Japan affected by the country's nuclear crisis until radiation concerns are lifted, the prime minister's office said on Friday (March 25).
"We will strengthen our safety measures including tentative bans on importing food products from contaminated areas. First all of, we will tentatively stop importing food products, which were designated to not be shipped from Japan until worries over current radioactive contamination are resolved," said Yoon Dong-han, vice minister for government policy at the prime minister's office.
The ban applies to food products from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma prefectures and could be expanded if necessary, the government said in a statement.
It said tests of food products from Japan had yet to uncover any instances of radiation contamination, but pledged to publicise the test results and information on radiation levels in Japan via government Web sites to ease public concerns.
Opinion among South Korean people was divided over the government's decision to ban imports from the affected Japanese prefectures.
"We can't 100 percent trust information from Japan, so I agree with banning imports for health of our people," said 67-year-old Lee Sook-hee.
Others said the government was over-reacting.
"Imports should be banned if we have concrete information on the situation. I think we're a bit over-reacting by banning imports blindly without having clear investigation over the situation," said 35-year-old Han Jin-man.
As worries grew over the risk to food safety of radiation from the damaged Fukushima power plant, 250 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, the United States became the first nation to block some food imports from the disaster zone.
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