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Japan provides Seoul with more records on radioactive water leaks

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SEOUL, Sept. 16 (Yonhap) -- Japan has recently provided Seoul with additional records on radioactive water leaked from its tsunami-hit reactor amid a growing radiation scare in South Korea, a foreign ministry official said Monday.

In mid-August, the South Korean foreign ministry asked Japan to provide records on the radioactive water leak, and Japan sent its first packet of records late last month.

"Japan has recently dispatched additional records upon our request," the ministry official said, adding that Seoul received almost all the records it has requested.

A food scare has flared up here after Japan's revelations in July that tons of radioactive water had poured out of the Fukushima nuclear plant. Consumers have been demanding measures to ensure that radioactive-tainted fisheries products from the area do not enter Korea.

According to the ministry, the maritime and fisheries ministry and the nuclear safety agency here are now looking into the records from Japan. The ministry will request more data in the future, if necessary, it said.

In a bid to protect local consumers, the South Korean government earlier this month imposed an import ban on all fisheries products from Fukushima and seven other adjacent prefectures in Japan, including Ibaraki, Chiba and Aomori.

A director-level official from Japan's fisheries agency was to visit the South Korean food and drug agency in the administrative capital of Sejong later in the day to hold a meeting with officials there.

The meeting was proposed by Japan and is aimed at discussing the island nation's stance that its marine products are being safely managed, according to South Korea's foreign ministry, which arranged the meeting.

Meanwhile, Rep. Lim Nae-hyun of the main opposition Democratic Party said South Korea saw a surge in fishery imports from Japanese prefectures adjacent to Fukushima since the leakage case, calling on the government to toughen its measures.

"Between 2011 and last week when the government imposed the ban, a whopping 7,982 tonnes of fishery products were shipped here from five Japanese prefectures near Fukushima," Lim said in a press release, citing his analysis of the data provided by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

"In particular, the amount of imported fishery products from Miyagi Prefecture (nearby Fukushima) soared from 11 tons in 2011 to 1,844 tons in 2012," he added.

Stressing widespread public concern over the safety of the Japanese products, the lawmaker urged the government "to review (the current measures) in a move to expand the regions for the import ban."

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