TOKYO: Countries across the world shunned Japanese food imports yesterday as radioactive steam leaked from a disaster-struck nuclear plant, straining nerves in Tokyo. The damage to the Fukushima nuclear plant from the tectonic calamity and a series of explosions has stoked global anxiety. The US and Hong Kong have already restricted Japanese food.
Russia ordered a halt to food imports from four prefectures — Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki and Tochigi — near the stricken plant, 250km northeast of Tokyo. Australia banned produce from the area, including seaweed and seafood, milk, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables. It said, however, that Japanese food already on store shelves was safe, as it had shipped before the quake. Canada implemented enhanced import controls on products from the four prefectures. Singapore suspended imports of milk products and other foodstuffs from the same four prefectures, as well as all food products from two more — Chiba and Ehime. The Philippines banned Japanese chocolate imports.
The Tokyo government revealed that radioactive iodine in the drinking water was more than twice the level deemed safe for infants. The news triggered a run on bottled water in shops. Japan’s government has also halted shipments of untreated milk and vegetables from Fukushima and three adjoining prefectures
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