TOKYO, July 19 (Reuters) – South Korea’s Olympic team will separately prepare food for their athletes and check ingredients for radiation during the Tokyo Olympics, an official said on Monday, a potential additional irritant to them. relations between Seoul and Tokyo around the Games.
South Korea has periodically upset Japan with measures such as reducing imports of Japanese seafood, citing security concerns after the 2011 Fukushima tsunami and nuclear disaster.
A spokesperson for the Korean Olympic and Sports Committee said it has booked a hotel near the Olympic Village to prepare and deliver boxed meals to its athletes, adding that the country has its own food programs every Olympics to help its athletes. to feel at home. .
Relations between the two Asian neighbors, already at their lowest amid disputes over land claims and their wartime history, deteriorated further on Monday when Seoul said President Moon Jae-in would not visit the Games, which open on Friday, for what would have been his first summit with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Read more
The South Korean team, at the request of the International Olympic Committee, removed banners referring to a 16th-century war with Japan from the balconies of accommodation in their Olympic Village in Japan. Read more
FIGHT “AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES OF RECOVERY”
It’s not uncommon for countries to bring their own chefs to the Olympics – the United States served their own food at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
But the South Korean team also stepped up its food safety checks at the Tokyo Games to assess levels of radioactive cesium, with its own chefs preparing around 400 meals a day.
“We are testing for cesium in the food ingredients of kimchi that we bring from home to other items, including Japanese ingredients,” said the South Korean Olympic spokesperson, who asked not to not be named.
Japan’s top government spokesperson Katsunobu Kato declined to comment on South Korea’s separate training table, but said organizers are using ingredients that meet their standards and disclose their origin.
In 2019, South Korea largely won a dispute with Japan at the World Trade Organization over Seoul’s import bans and testing requirements on Japanese seafood.
Japan initially presented the Games, which had been postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as a “Recovery Olympics” after the devastation of ten years ago, including by promoting products from Fukushima. Organizers say these foods will be safe when served at the Olympics.
The World Health Organization said in 2016 that Japanese authorities closely monitored food contamination and implemented protective measures to prevent the sale and distribution of contaminated food in Japan and abroad.
Yet organizers withdrew plans to label food from the prefecture and other areas affected by a nuclear disaster in the Olympic Village due to protests from some countries, the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper reported on Monday, citing an anonymous official from the Olympic Village. steering Committee.
Organizers did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Japan said many countries such as the United States and Australia have lifted or relaxed restrictions on Fukushima and that Fukushima’s food, including rice, is being exported to markets like Thailand.
Report from Ju-min Park; Editing by Antoni Slodkowski and William Mallard
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