Thailand receives Fukushima's first fish export since 2011 nuclear disaster

File photo showing workers sorting fish and seafood that was unloaded from a fishing ship at a port in Samut Sakhon province, Thailand, on Jan 22, 2018.
File photo showing workers sorting fish and seafood that was unloaded from a fishing ship at a port in Samut Sakhon province, Thailand, on Jan 22, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK - Thailand is the first country to receive a shipment of fresh fish from Japan's Fukushima prefecture following the March 2011 nuclear disaster.

A 110-kg shipment of fresh flounder was exported to Thailand on Wednesday (Feb 28), reported Jiji Press.

The fish was meant to be served in sushi and sashimi dishes at 12 Japanese restaurants in Bangkok last Friday.

"We're delighted to be able to sell fish worldwide from our prefecture," Kanji Tachiya, head of a fisheries cooperative association in the city of Soma, was quoted as saying. "We'll ship safe fish," he added.

Flounder had been a staple fish in Fukushima and fetched high prices prior to the nuclear disaster, reported Asahi Shimbun.

In 2011, three reactors at Tokyo Electric Power's Fukushima plant melted down after a magnitude 9 earthquake struck Japan, triggering a tsunami that devastated a swathe of Japan's north-eastern coastline. More than 15,000 people were killed.

About 160,000 people fled their homes after the meltdowns caused explosions that dumped radioactive materials.

Japan was forced to suspend some agricultural and fisheries exports following the disaster.

Fishermen in Fukushima went back to work on a trial basis in June 2012. According to prefecture officials, no seafood had been found with radiation levels exceeding Japan safety standards since April 2015.

In March last year (2017), the prefecture's fisheries association halved the area covered by their voluntary fishing ban to a 10-km radius from the nuclear plant instead of 20km, reported Jiji.