Hong Kong Bans Japan Imports of Vegetables, Fruits and Dairy Products

The Hong Kong government said Wednesday it will ban imports of vegetables, fruits and dairy products from five prefectures in Japan due to concerns over radioactivity.

Effective at noon on Thursday, the government will halt imports of the products from Fukushima, the site of a nuclear accident, and four nearby prefectures–Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba.

The measure is expected to deal a severe blow to Japan as Hong Kong is the largest export market for Japanese farm products.

Japan shipped 99.1 billion yen worth of farm products to Hong Kong in 2009, or about 22 pct of the country’s total farm exports, according to the Japanese agriculture ministry.

According to Hong Kong’s health authorities, levels of radioactive iodine-131 10 times the safety standard were detected in spinach imported from Japan and eight times the threshold in Japanese radishes.

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