SEOUL, Sept. 5 (Korea Bizwire) — The South Korean government decided to spend a record budget this year to prop up consumption of seafood amid public concerns over its safety following Japan’s release of contaminated water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean, the oceans ministry said Tuesday.
The Cabinet endorsed a plan Tuesday to draw up an additional 80 billion won (US$60.36 million) in reserve funds this year to issue coupons and hold various promotional events meant to encourage people to have more seafood and to better support the fishing industry, Vice Oceans Minister Park Sung-hoon said during a regular briefing on the Fukushima issue.
Taken together with the 64 billion won that the government is already spending on promoting seafood consumption, this year’s budget marked the largest amount earmarked for the goal ever, he added.
Last month, Japan began discharging radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was crippled by a massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami, into the sea, sparking concerns over its potential impact on the environment, seafood and people’s health.
The Seoul government said seafood consumption has been stable over the past two weeks and it will continue all-out efforts to ensure the safety of domestic marine products.
South Korea banned all seafood imports from eight Japanese prefectures near Fukushima in 2013 on concerns over their radiation levels in the wake of the meltdown incident in 2011.