On September 6th, the Korean Government decided to forbid the import of all fishery products produced in 8 prefectures around Fukushima. The domestic circulation of the fishery products is strictly prohibited regardless of radioactive contamination levels. Prior to the measure, the Korean Government banned the import of some agro-fishery products. But these measures didn’t include processed foods whose main ingredients are agro-fishery products. At present, the import restriction on processed foods is nonexistent. Japanese foods are dangerous because the Korean Food & Drug Administration doesn’t inspect Japanese foods thoroughly. Radioactivity checking is possible for iodine and cesium, but foods are not checked for strontium and plutonium. Strontium and plutonium are fatal to humans. Meanwhile, consumers have started realizing how serious the situation is. They were disappointed by the lackadaisical response of the government. As a result, consumers turned away from marine products, depressing the domestic market. In some markets for marine products, public officials measured radioactivity levels to relieve the consumers, and the major news media reported such scenes. Big-box stores also used radiation instruments to measure levels. The demand for portable radiation instruments has increased greatly. But this is a circus. Portable radiation instruments have low sensitivity, so they can only measure large amounts of radiation. The instruments are unsuitable for detecting radiation in food. The Korean Food & Drug Administration is allegedly taking charge by using high purity detectors that cost more than one hundred million won. As government authorities didn’t provide accurate information, they have increased confusion among the people. The inaccurate response of the government has only intensified public mistrust. The Korean government will have to improve radioactivity testing, and take appropriate measures in order to gain the public's trust and protect the people from radioactivity.
Jung Hwan-su -
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