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Radiation fears see South Korea ban fish imports caught near Fukushima

Fukushima was the site of a nuclear accident in 2011 — the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

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South Korea has banned fish products from the region near Japan's Fukushima plant over fears of radioactive contamination. (Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images)

Worries over radioactive seafood have resulted in a South Korean ban on fish originating from the region near Fukushima, Japan.

Fukushima was the site of a nuclear accident in 2011, after an earthquake and tsunami destroyed the plant's protective walls, sparking the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

South Korea had already imposed a limited ban on fish from Japan, but it was expanded on Friday to regions near Fukushima.

Last month, the Japanese government revealed that 300 tons of nuclear-contaminated water had leaked from the plant into the ocean.

This week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that his government would pledge nearly $500 million to fix leaks in the plant.

South Korean authorities said the ban was necessary given incomplete information from Japan.

More from GlobalPost: Japan detains Chinese boat captain and crew for illegal fishing

“The decision was made as public concerns are growing after radiation-contaminated water has leaked from the Fukushima nuclear plant,” said Prime Minister Jung Hong-won’s office in a statement.

“It’s uncertain how this situation has developed in Japan and it’s difficult to predict the future only with the information provided by Japan so far.”

Japanese officials have said the seafood is safe for consumption and is tested before going to market. Authorities said that Japan has some of the toughest food standards in the world.

"There is an international standard on food, including fish, and we are carrying out stringent safety controls based on those standards. We ask South Korea for a response based on science," Japan's chief Cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, told reporters.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/south-korea/130906/radioactive-fish-south-korea-bans-fish-imports