A Kyodo News survey on Friday showed 80.6 percent of prefectural fisheries cooperative associations were affected by the discharge of treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, with many feeling the impact through China's import ban on Japanese marine products.

The survey found that 29 out of 36 respondents among the members of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations said they "had felt" or "had somewhat felt" negative effects including financial damage due to the water release, overwhelmingly due to the subsequent import ban by China.

Photo taken from a Kyodo News helicopter on Feb. 11, 2024, shows the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.(Kyodo)

None of the 29 organizations saw a negative impact in the domestic market such as refusal to purchase their products. The Fisheries Agency has said there is no other reputational damage than the one caused by the Chinese import ban.

Regarding the kinds of damage they had suffered, 24 organizations said they were "no longer able to export" products such as sea cucumber, scallops and yellowtail due to restrictions from places such as China and Hong Kong.

Some 18 organizations said they experienced a "drop in marine product prices," attributing the price decline to China's import ban.

In August last year, the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., began releasing the water that was used to cool melted nuclear fuel and has been treated through an advanced liquid processing system capable of removing most radionuclides, except tritium.

China banned imports of all seafood products from Japan shortly after the release in an effort to "protect the lives and health of the people." Russia also restricted Japanese seafood imports while Hong Kong and Macao, both semiautonomous regions of China, also took similar measures.

TEPCO said the discharge is necessary toward the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

The Japanese government last year pledged financial support totaling 100.7 billion yen ($668 million) to the fisheries industry in response to the release of the treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The survey was conducted with 42 fisheries cooperative associations nationwide from January through February. Six organizations, including the association in Ishikawa Prefecture which was struck by a powerful earthquake on New Year's Day, did not respond to the survey.

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