Japan calls for discussion with China on import suspension under RCEP pact

The Japanese government has requested discussions with China regarding the recent suspension of all seafood imports from Japan. This request was based on the provisions of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, Agreement.

Japan submitted the request on Monday. According to the RCEP Agreement's provisions, a party hit by measures such as import suspension can request bilateral discussions with the introducing party. Both Japan and China are the parties to the agreement.

China implemented the import suspension late last month following the start of the release of treated and diluted water from Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean.

While it remains unclear whether China will agree to discussions, the Japanese government intends to persistently advocate for the repeal of the suspension through such efforts. It is also working to gain understanding of the international community about the water release.

The government said that also on Monday, it submitted a counterargument to the World Trade Organization against China's notification of emergency measures. China had notified the WTO of its suspension of Japanese marine imports late last month, citing food safety concerns. The government said the import suspension is totally unacceptable, and is vigorously pressing for the removal of the measure.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered a triple meltdown in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Water used to cool molten fuel at the plant has been mixing with rain and groundwater.

The accumulated water is treated to remove most radioactive substances, but still contains tritium. Before releasing the treated water into the sea, the plant's operator dilutes it to reduce tritium levels to about one-seventh of the World Health Organization's guidelines for drinking water.