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The Record China news site reports on a development which must be painful for many Fukushima brewers – a restaurant in Beijing has been ordered to pay CNY 10,000 in compensation for selling “contaminated” produce from Niigata Prefecture.

The story was reported on 22 March 2018 by the Beijing News. A man living in Beijing claimed damages because a bottle of sake he bought was from Niigata Prefecture, and China is still banning imports from areas they class as being at risk of radioactive contamination after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and incident at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. A court agreed with his claim, and ordered a compromise agreement between the man and the restaurant. 

The man bought a bottle of sake for CNY 1,280 while eating with friends. He later noticed that it was produced in Niigata. He claimed for damages 10x the value of the bottle, namely CNY 12,800. The restaurant claimed they found the sake at another retailer and only bought one bottle, showing a receipt as evidence, but could not show any official customs stamp or proof it met food safety requirements. The court decided that the restaurant had failed in its duty of care.

The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China named 12 prefectures as being affected by radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on 8 April 2011: Fukushima, Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Miyagi, Yamagata, Niigata, Nagano, Yamanashi, Saitama, Tokyo and Chiba. Sales of food, agricultural produce and animal feed from those prefectures were banned. Yamagata and Yamanashi were taken off the list in June 2011, but the other 10 remain unable to sell in China.

In 13 February 2017, all Chinese sellers of Japanese produce were ordered to show a certificate of origin and acceptable measures of radioactivity when bringing items through customs to ensure that nothing came from those 10 prefectures. Restrictions are still in place on imports of Japanese products in China, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled in February 2018 that Korea’s continued restrictions on the import of Japanese fishery products was unjust.