China has banned the import of Japan’s famous ornamental “koi” carp. At the same time, its market is key for them, it accounted for almost a fifth of last year’s exports in the volume of 6.3 billion yen, i.e. almost a billion crowns.
Fish that are called koi in Europe are called nishikigoi by the Japanese, which literally means brocade carp. The species, which is specially bred from the original wild variety, then usually goes to garden ponds and pools, and its popularity abroad continues to grow. The above exports are double what they were ten years ago.
In the summer, China already banned the import of all seafood from Japan due to the discharge of waste water from the crashed Fukushima into the ocean. What the nuclear power plant has been releasing since August 24 is “nuclearly contaminated,” according to Chinese authorities.
Companies are also rebelling. Carp is not a seafood
However, until now, the area in Niigata Prefecture, where koi are born, was exempt from the Chinese import ban. However, the permit to import products there expired at the end of October and Beijing has not yet renewed it. “I don’t think we can do anything as one company alone, only through discussions between governments,” complains Manadu Ogata, president of the koi fish farm, in the introductory video.
Tokyo has already requested the resumption of imports, officially through diplomats, but has not yet received a response. As the Japanese authorities claim, they sent all the materials that were necessary to extend the exemption “in advance”.
Furthermore, according to Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, koi fish are “fundamentally different from seafood”. And China’s response, i.e. ignoring the request to extend the exemption, appears to the authority to be “scientifically unfounded”. In August, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida even tried to dispel the fears of neighboring countries about the consumption of fish caught in the sea around the decommissioned Fukushima nuclear power plant. Together with three ministers, he dined on sashimi, a traditional Japanese dish, made from seafood originating from this region.
Even so, the export of Japanese marine products to China in September fell by 90.8 percent year-on-year to 800 million yen, i.e. about 120 million crowns. And even the Japanese could partially import, for example, pearls, corals or carp. According to their statement, they will therefore continue to try to negotiate. The price of one such koi fish can range from 20 dollars (459 CZK) for young pieces to 20 thousand dollars for the most successful adult pieces.