A number of Chinese stores have almost completely pulled Japanese food products from their shelves after a consumer rights show aired by China's state-run broadcaster CCTV alleged that some items are from areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Kyodo News confirmed that stores in Beijing and Shanghai, at least, as well as some online shops, have stopped selling Japanese food products. Chinese media reports say that the withdrawals have begun in more than 10 major cities, also including Tianjin, Guangzhou and Nanjing.
Some outlets put notices for customers at their emptied shelves explaining that they are carrying out safety checks on Japanese food items after being informed by the government of the broadcast.
CCTV reported Wednesday that Japanese food items from Fukushima or its surrounding areas, the import of which Chinese authorities have banned in the wake of the nuclear disaster, have actually been sold in China.
Among Chinese consumers, who have gained more purchasing power in recent years, imports from Japan and other foreign countries are popular, while local authorities continue to face serious challenges in ensuring the safety of domestically produced goods.
The scare broke out despite Sino-Japanese relations being much better than several years ago, when they were at the lowest ebb in decades over a territorial row and wartime issues.
While the removals could expand rapidly in other parts of China, Shanghai food supervisory authorities said they have not so far found any problematic Japanese items.
In addition to Chinese retailers, Japanese brand Muji specifically came under the spotlight and was shamed during the two-hour annual program, composed of undercover reports and entertainment performances.
Japan's Liberal Democratic Party on Friday submitted a record of email exchanges in which Akie Abe, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife, denies her alleged payment of one million yen to an embattled school operator. (Jiji)
Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada ordered the Ground Self-Defense Force on Friday to withdraw its engineering troops taking part in a U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan by the end of May. (Jiji)
Kobe District Court on Wednesday sentenced a man to death, as sought by public prosecutors, for fatally stabbing a total of five men and women in Awajishima, an island in the western Japan prefecture of Hyogo, in March 2015. (Jiji)
A Japanese woman has given birth to a girl after receiving in-vitro fertilization treatment with an egg from an anonymous third-party donor, a nonprofit organization based in the western Japan city of Kobe said Wednesday. (Jiji)