US Military Makes Big Seafood Buy from Japan to Counter China’s Ban

US Military Makes Big Seafood Buy from Japan to Counter China’s Ban
Oysters, including the ones from Japan, are seen on sale in Moscow on Oct. 16, 2023. (Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP via Getty Images)

The United States has started purchasing Japanese seafood in reaction to China’s ban on the products.

China, previously the largest importer of Japanese seafood, announced the ban after Tokyo dumped treated water from its wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.

The purchases will be used by the United States to supply its military stationed in Japan.

During an interview with Reuters on Oct. 30, the United States ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, revealed the project and said that Washington should also look more broadly at how it could help counter China’s embargo, which he said was part of China’s “economic wars.”

The United Nations nuclear inspector has given its stamp of approval to the release of water from the facility that was destroyed by a tsunami in 2011. The flow began in August. On Oct. 29, trade ministers for the G7 countries demanded that any restrictions placed on Japanese food be lifted immediately.

“It’s going to be a long-term contract between the U.S. armed forces and the fisheries and co-ops here in Japan,” Mr. Emanuel said during his recent interview.

“The best way we have proven in all the instances to kind of wear out China’s economic coercion is come to the aid and assistance of the targeted country or industry.”

The first purchase consists of just under one metric ton of scallops, a negligible portion of the more than 100,000 tons of scallops that Japan exported to mainland China in the previous year.

Bases, Ships and Restaurants

Mr. Emanuel said that the purchases will feed soldiers on bases and ships and be sold in shops and restaurants on military bases. They will also gradually expand to include all varieties of seafood. He said that the U.S. military had not previously purchased Japanese seafood.

The United States could also examine its overall imports of fish from Japan and China, he said. In addition, the U.S. is in discussions with Japanese authorities to assist in directing locally caught scallops to U.S.-registered processors.

In recent months, Mr. Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff for former President Barack Obama, has made a series of forthright statements about China, criticizing its economic policies, decision-making practices, and treatment of foreign firms.

The ambassador also stated that China has faced major economic challenges exacerbated by a leadership intent on turning their backs on international systems.

“The kind of loser in this is the youth of China,” Mr. Emanuel said. “You now have a situation where 30 percent of the Chinese youth, one out of three, are unemployed. You have major cities with unfinished housing … you have major municipalities not able to pay city workers.

“Why? Because China made a political decision to turn their back on a system in which they were benefiting,” he said.

Diplomatic Outreaches

In an effort to mend strained relations, senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have visited Beijing.

Japan, an ally of the United States, has attempted to bolster United States treasury securities and pick up American assets, while China has dumped United States debt in recent months.

An Oct. 20 report covered data from the Treasury Department showing that while China has reduced its holdings in United States debt by more than $16 billion, or 15 percent, Japan has raised its stakes by about $4 billion.

Additionally, Japan has joined South Korea and the United States in denouncing North Korea’s transfer of arms to Russia.

“Such weapons deliveries, several of which we now confirm have been completed, will significantly increase the human toll of Russia’s war of aggression,” the joint statement from Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japanese Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko, and Republic of Korea Foreign Minister Park Jin reads.

“We will continue to work together with the international community to expose Russia’s attempts to acquire military equipment from the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea].”

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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