South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol took a strategic step to gain public trust and stimulate local seafood consumption by having a seafood lunch at a bustling fish market in Seoul. The President’s visit to the Noryangjin fish market was part of a broader initiative to dispel growing concerns surrounding Japan’s decision to release radioactive water into the ocean.
During his visit, President Yoon, known for his discerning palate, carefully selected fresh seafood, including rockfish, blue crab, and gizzard shad, to assure citizens of the safety and quality of local fisheries’ produce.
The move is a response to Japan’s recent decision to release water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean. This decision sparked protests both in Japan and neighboring countries. Notably, Chinese consumers expressed their distress, leading Beijing to impose a blanket ban on all aquatic products from Japan.
In response, South Korean authorities are taking various measures to address these concerns, including serving more seafood in government cafeterias and corporate meal services, increasing seafood in military and school meals, and allocating funds for vouchers and financial aid to the seafood industry.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol sought to address persistent public concerns over seafood and ocean contamination by enjoying a seafood lunch during his weekly meeting with Prime Minister Han Duck-soo.
High-ranking officials were accompanying him during this luncheon, including the President’s Chief of Staff, Kim Dae-ki, and National Security Adviser, Cho Tae-yong, among others.
“The presidential office decided to provide Korean seafood products on the lunch menu at our cafeteria every day for a week starting Monday, hoping our people will consume our safe seafood products without concerns,” the official release stated.
Japan’s environment ministry has reported that tests conducted on seawater near the Fukushima plant have shown no signs of radioactivity, a statement aimed at alleviating concerns over potential contamination following the discharge of treated radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean.
However, despite government assurances that the release would be closely monitored, South Korea’s fishery industries remain anxious about a significant drop in seafood consumption. A July public survey by pollster Media Research revealed that 62% of South Koreans indicated they would reduce or completely cease seafood consumption once the discharge commenced.
In July, the Yoon-led government endorsed the safety of Japan’s wastewater plans, marking a stark departure from the positions taken by other countries in the region, such as China, which has recently implemented additional bans on Japanese seafood imports.