TOKYO - (AP) - The government set its first radiation safetystandards for fish Tuesday after Japan's tsunami-ravaged nuclearplant reported radioactive contamination in nearby seawatermeasuring at several million times the legal limit.
The plant operator insisted that the radiation will rapidlydisperse and that it poses no immediate danger, but an expert saidexposure to the highly concentrated levels near the FukushimaDai-ichi plant could cause immediate injury and that the leakscould result in residual contamination of the sea in the area.
The new levels coupled with reports that radiation was buildingup in fish led the government to create an acceptable radiationstandard for fish for the first time, and officials said it couldchange depending on circumstances. Some fish caught Friday offJapan's coastal waters would have exceeded the new limit.
"Even if the government says the fish is safe, people won'twant to buy seafood from Fukushima," said Ichiro Yamagata, afisherman who used to live within sight of the nuclear plant andhas since fled to a shelter in Tokyo.
"We probably can't fish there for several years," he said.
India announced Tuesday that it is halting food imports fromJapan. Few countries have gone so far, but India's three-month banreflected the unease the nuclear crisis generates - both inconsumers confused about radiation and among Japan's fishermenfearing collapse of their business.