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TOKYO, August 1 (Itar-Tass) — Over the period since April to late July, 2011, Russian customs officers in the Far East have banned the import into the country of 61 Japanese goods, including used cars and automobile spare parts because of high radiation level, it is said in a written response by the Chief of the Far East Customs Department, Sergei Pashko, to an inquiry of the Kyodo news agency.
The document says that during this period, Japanese ships delivered to six ports of the Far East of Russia, including Vladivostok and Nakhodka, 235 kinds of commodities. Sixty-one of them were detained by the Customs after radiation level checks, because the radiation “many times” exceeded the permissible under Russian law level, after which were sent back to Japan. Other goods were allowed for import.
In this regard, government sources in Tokyo said that information about the high levels of radiation in the exported Japan-made products so far has come only from Russia.
According to Kyodo, Russia has enhanced radiation screening of imports from Japan since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, leading to radiation leaks. However, there have been no reports of high levels of radiation being detected in Japanese manufactured products from countries other than Russia, according to Japanese government officials.
The levels of radiation detected in the Japanese products were several times natural levels and Russian customs refused to clear them for importation in line with official Russian standards, Pashko said. The remaining Japanese products were cleared after decontamination by importers, he said. Ships transported the 235 products from such Japanese ports as Niigata, Osaka, Toyama, Yokohama, Hakata and Otaru to six ports in the Russian Far East including Vladivostok and Nakhodka, Pashko said.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is a series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns, and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, following the 9.0 magnitude Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011. The plant comprises six separate boiling water reactors maintained by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). This accident is the largest of the 2011 Japanese nuclear accidents arising from the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and experts consider it to be the largest nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster, but more complex as multiple reactors are involved. Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear power industry executive who served as an expert witness in the investigation of the Three Mile Island accident, said that “Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind.”