In April 2021, the Government of Japan announced the plan to discharge the nuclear-contaminated water generated in the process of cooling the reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power station (FNPS) into the ocean after treatment in about two years' time (i.e. 2023). The plan has aroused concern from the international community and the public. Many stakeholders are concerned whether the discharge of nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean would have serious impact on the marine ecosystem, the food chain and food safety.

The nuclear-contaminated water to be discharged from the FNPS includes the water which has been directly injected into the melted reactor cores of the FNPS to lower the temperature of the reactors. As the nuclear-contaminated water had direct contact with active raw materials of the nuclear reactor, it contains a high concentration of radioactive substances. The current plan of Japan is to remove the radioactive substances in the nuclear-contaminated water through purification, so that the radiation level of the nuclear-contaminated water will meet Japanese and international safety standards. The nuclear-contaminated water will be diluted by more than 100 times through injection of a large volume of seawater into the facility, such that the concentration of tritium will be lowered to one-fortieth of the Japanese regulatory level (i.e. 1 500 Bq/litre). It will then be discharged into the ocean through the undersea tunnel.

According to the discussion papers of the Legislative Council Panel on Food Safety and Environmental Hygiene on 14 March and 13 June 2023, the HKSAR Government has repeatedly expressed grave concern about the impact of the discharge plan on food safety. In disregard of the strong concerns of people in Japan and the international community, the Government of Japan is set on pushing through the discharge despite its obligations under international law. This is an irresponsible act that will endanger the global marine environment and people's health.

The Task Force set up by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is conducting a review on whether the discharge plan can meet the safety standard of the IAEA, and whether it would have negative impact on human health and the ecosystem. Members of the Task Force include experts from Mainland China, Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. The Task Force conducted visits to Fukushima, Japan and published review reports to make suggestions on some technical and regulatory aspects of the discharge plan to the Japanese authorities. The IAEA published the comprehensive report in July 2023 to make conclusions on the review before the discharge, and indicated that the review will continue during the discharge.

On 24 August, 2023, the Japanese government started discharging nuclear-contaminated water into the sea, and indicated that the discharge would last for 30 years. In response to the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water being discharged into the sea, Hong Kong has immediately banned the import of aquatic products from ten designated metropolis/prefectures in Japan to Hong Kong, including all live, frozen, chilled, dried or otherwise preserved aquatic products, sea salt, and unprocessed or processed seaweed.

The Government will continue to maintain close communication with the Consulate General of Japan in Hong Kong and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, and will closely monitor the latest situation of imported foods from Japan and the discharge of nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, assess related risks and take appropriate corresponding measures. In order to allow the public to better grasp the latest safety information on foods imported from Japan, the CFS will announce the radiation test results of food samples imported from Japan on this thematic webpage every working day, and will issue press releases on a regular basis.

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