Farm minister asks S. Korea to lift import ban

Japan's farm minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Tuesday the country will continue to ask South Korea to lift its latest import ban on fisheries products from parts of Japan imposed because of leaks of radiation-contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

"We will request an early repeal" of the import ban on products from eight prefectures including Fukushima, Hayashi said at a press conference.

Hayashi did not rule out the possibility that Japan could take the case to the World Trade Organization if it cannot be resolved bilaterally.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a separate press conference that Tokyo "will continue to urge the South Korean government to lift the import ban based on scientific grounds."

Japan's Fisheries Agency sent a senior official to South Korea on Monday to provide the latest information on how Japan is maintaining the safety of fisheries products and taking measures to deal with the contaminated water, while South Korean officials said they will review the data and information provided by Japan.

South Korea earlier this month expanded its import ban to include all fisheries products from Fukushima and seven surrounding prefectures, citing the leakage of contaminated water at the nuclear plant.