SEJONG, May 7 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s new ocean minister vowed Tuesday to ensure that potentially dangerous seafood will not reach South Korean tables.
“There should never be anything that could compromise public health” and food safety, Moon Seong-hyeok, minister of oceans and fisheries, said in a meeting with reporters ahead of his planned meeting with the top Japanese envoy.
Moon is set to meet with Japan’s Ambassador to South Korea Yasumasa Nakamine in Sejong, an administrative hub located 130 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Wednesday at Nakamine’s request.
Moon plans to stress that South Korea’s import restrictions on Japanese seafood are a legitimate measure meant to protect public health.
South Korea banned all seafood imports from eight Japanese prefectures near Fukushima in 2013. The move came after Japan announced the leak of contaminated water following the 2011 meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
In April, the World Trade Organization finalized its ruling in favor of South Korea’s import restrictions on Japanese seafood.
Moon also plans to call for a quick conclusion to South Korea-Japan fisheries negotiations, according to the ministry.
The last bilateral fisheries agreement expired in June 2016. South Korea and Japan have since failed to narrow their differences on fishing quotas and other issues.
Last month, Moon sent a letter to Japan calling for fisheries talks, though there has been no response from Japan.