Two out of three South Koreans favored an import ban on all fisheries products from Japan due to fears over radioactive water leaking from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, a poll showed Monday.
According to the survey on 500 South Korean people aged over 19, 65 percent of respondents said that it will be necessary for the government to ban all marine products from being imported from Japan.
The poll was conducted by Rep. Seong Wan-jong of the ruling Saenuri Party to use it for the parliamentary audits of government offices that will run for 20 days from Monday.
In early September, South Korea slapped an import ban on all fisheries products from Japan's Fukushima region, which was suspected of leaking a massive amount of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. The region included eight prefectures of Fukushima, Aomori, Ibaraki, Gunma, Miyagi, Iwate, Tochigi and Chiba.
Hundreds tons of radiation-contaminated water is reportedly leaked from the melted nuclear fuel to flow into the Pacific Ocean every day. The March 2011 earthquake melted down nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant.
Fears mounted among South Korean consumers over Japan's nuclear disaster, leading to a drop in consumption of marine products overall.
The survey showed that more than half of the respondents refrained from buying even locally-produced fisheries products as well as those imported from Japan, worrying that certification of origin could be fraudulently wrong.
Three quarters of the respondents said that they felt inconvenient when buying fisheries products due to possible radiation contamination of food, noting that the South Korean government failed to take correct response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
In a protest against Seoul's import ban, Japan sent a senior official to South Korea in mid-September to hear explanations, while mulling filing a suit against its neighbor with the World Trade Organization (WTO).
As to the possible WTO litigation, Rep. Kim Woo-nam of the main opposition Democratic Party said that South Korea will highly likely win the possible lawsuit, citing a report from the parliamentary research institute.
The report showed that Japan was held accountable for proving inadequacies of Seoul's import ban according to the WTO's sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) agreement, noting that if all- out import ban on all fisheries products from Japan would be imposed, it would not breach international standards.
Kim urged the government to slap an all-out import ban on all marine products from Japan, saying that it would ease public fears over overall fisheries products.