FUKUSHIMA - Eleven Japanese restaurants in the Thai capital of Bangkok have stopped serving imported fish caught off the coast of the Fukushima prefectural city of Soma, the prefectural government has said.
According to Mainichi Shimbun, the decision of the restaurants came following fears that they might experience a backlash and a reduction in customer numbers - fueled by citizen group protests that have spread online - even though Thailand does not restrict the import of goods from Fukushima Prefecture.
Consignments of fresh seafood including flounder, fluke and octopus have been exported from Fukushima to Thailand since late February - the first export of seafood from the prefecture since the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in 2011.
It is not clear when the restaurants will start offering the fish again, Mainichi Shimbun reported on Tuesday (March 13).
According to the Fukushima prefectural government, 143kg of fish have been exported to Thailand since Feb 28, with about 50kg being consumed at an event starting on March 2 that was jointly hosted by the 11 restaurants.
However, consumer groups in Thailand have been directing protests towards the country's Ministry of Public Health, saying: "Don't make citizens here eat dangerous fish", according to Mainichi Shimbun.
Meanwhile, the ministry has stated that a thorough inspection has been conducted and the fish is safe.