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WTO backs Japan complaint against South Korea over Fukushima import ban

Staff Writer |
The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled against an import ban on Japanese fishery products imposed by South Korea following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, over two years after Tokyo filed a complaint.

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The dispute settlement panel said the ban was an "unjustifiably discriminate" measure and recommended South Korea correct it to bring it into line with WTO rules.

The panel also said a South Korean requirement that Japanese exporters of all marine products submit certificates of inspection if small amounts of radioactive cesium or iodine are detected is an effective barrier to fair trade.

The Japanese government welcomed the ruling and said it will request that South Korea "sincerely and expeditiously correct measures that have been found (by the panel) as not being consistent with WTO rules."

The report said that the South Korean ban on all fishery products from Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan and seven other nearby prefectures was "more trade-restrictive than required," and recommended it be lifted on 28 kinds of fish, as requested by Japan.

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