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U.S. ambassador to Japan visits Fukushima

SOMA, FUKUSHIMA PREF. – U.S. ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel visited Fukushima on Thursday and told reporters he expected the U.S. to support Japan should China’s ban on Japanese seafood develop into a spat at the World Trade Organization.

“If Japan decides to take that effort, the United States will stand by (it) not just because they’re an ally, but because there’s legitimacy to the case,” he said, although he added he cannot prejudge what would happen and such support would ultimately be up to the relevant U.S. government agencies.

Japan started releasing treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean on Aug. 24, prompting China, Japan’s biggest trade partner, to impose a blanket ban on Japanese aquatic products.

Japan has since sought an immediate end to the ban and threatened to resolve the matter through the WTO framework. Japan has also complained of being inundated with harassing calls since the water release.

“The economic coercion against Japan, the robocalls of harassment and disinformation both here in Japan and around comes right out of China’s playbook. This is all politics,” Emanuel said.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he would compile measures to help the fishing industry hit by China’s ban on Japanese seafood, after visiting Tokyo’s biggest fish market on Thursday.

Kishida told reporters following the visit to Toyosu fish market that requests from fishers included support to help fishing companies develop new sales avenues and holding discussions with China.

Some Japanese officials have also signaled diplomatic actions to urge China to lift the ban, which Tokyo says is not based on scientific evidence.

Source: The Japan Times