During a G7 meeting held in Osaka, Japan, trade ministers discreetly discussed the necessity of lifting the restrictions on the import of Japanese food products. This issue came to the forefront after China imposed stringent limitations on Japanese food imports on August 24, citing concerns about the release of wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The G7 nations collectively expressed their concerns about China’s import restrictions on Japanese goods and deliberated on the economic consequences of these measures. Notably, China had implemented an indefinite ban on Japanese fish imports just two months earlier in response to Japan’s decision to release treated radioactive water from the damaged Fukushima plant into the Pacific. Subsequently, Russia also followed suit in imposing similar restrictions.
China expressed its serious concerns and labeled the G7 nations’ call for repeal as “economic coercion.” This exchange between China and the G7 nations is reminiscent of a previous incident when China imposed an export ban on graphite, a vital material in battery production. This move by China was a direct response to the United States’ ban on outbound investment in Chinese industries, particularly those involving advanced computing chips, microelectronics, quantum technology, and artificial intelligence. This standoff resulted in a notable increase in the price of this crucial metal.
China justified its export ban by asserting that it was necessary to safeguard critical minerals. During their discussions, G7 ministers also addressed this export ban and stressed the importance of establishing resilient supply chains for critical mineral exports. They further emphasized the need to reduce monopolies in global trade, signaling their commitment to promoting fair and equitable international commerce.
The G7 nations, which include the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, Italy, and Canada, have denounced the seafood import ban as unjust and unnecessary. They stress the importance of maintaining strong bilateral ties between nations and argue that resorting to such unfair measures could establish a troubling precedent for other countries while adversely affecting the Japanese economy as a whole. Notably, Russia also recently announced a similar restriction on Japanese seafood imports. Additionally, Western powers criticized Russia for its actions in destroying a Ukrainian grain storage unit. It’s worth mentioning that the G7 did not address the Palestinian crisis in their discussions.
In a bid to support Japan, the United States has taken the unprecedented step of including Japanese seafood in its military rations. This marks the first time the United States has procured Japanese seafood to supply its armed forces. In conclusion, although the United Nations has vouched for the safety of nuclear wastewater, China counters this by asserting that each country’s leaders have the right to take preventive measures as they see fit.