China reminds Japan to share nuclear crisis info

AFP , Tuesday 12 Apr 2011

Following Japan's upgraded emergency status to the maximum seven, China reminds the disaster stricken country to share information

China on Tuesday reiterated a request for Japan to quickly provide information on its nuclear crisis after Tokyo upgraded its emergency to a maximum seven, on a par with the Chernobyl disaster.

Beijing has repeatedly asked that its neighbour be transparent about the impact of the March 11 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant northeast of Tokyo, triggered by a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

Premier Wen Jiabao called on Tokyo to "promptly and accurately inform China" about developments in the ongoing crisis, in a telephone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Kan in turn told Wen that Japan would continue to provide China and the rest of the international community with "information with utmost transparency" on the situation at the plant, according to Japan's foreign ministry.

The Japan nuclear disaster has sparked concern over radiation contamination in China, briefly causing panic-buying of salt in the mistaken belief that the iodine it contained could ward off the effects of radiation.

Low levels of radiation have been detected in the air across China and on spinach grown in some parts of the country's north including Beijing.

China's government has consistently stressed that the amounts involved were far too low to pose a health hazard.

However, it nevertheless last week expanded its import ban on food and produce from Japan to include products from 12 prefectures near the crippled Fukushima plant.

"We hope the measures taken by the Japanese side will effectively alleviate the situation," foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters. "We hope the Japanese side will provide information in a timely, precise and comprehensive manner."

Japan upgraded the emergency on Tuesday to a seven, the top level on the UN's International Nuclear Events Scale (INES), defined as a "major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures".

Short link: