Russia Still Sees Radiation on Second-Hand Cars From Japan

    The Wall Street Journal
    By The Wall Street Journal

    MOSCOW—The fallout from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster is still being felt in Russia, where customs officials say they continue to detect radiation on second-hand Japanese cars and auto parts being shipped in for sale in Russia’s Far East.

    Russia’s Federal Customs Service said Thursday that since the 2011 nuclear meltdown they have found 697 used vehicles and shipping containers carrying second-hand spare parts from Japan to the port of Vladivostok that were contaminated with beta-active radionuclides.

    The number of contaminated items has been falling every year since the plant disaster. In 2011, officials discovered about 90 tainted vehicles and parts every quarter; in 2012 it fell to 75 per quarter and in the first quarter of 2013 it dropped to 59 and down to 43 in the second quarter.

    The Japanese embassy in Moscow didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Russia continues to ban the import of 591 different kinds of equipment from Japan due to possible radioactive contamination, the customs service said.

    Russia is a popular dumping ground for used left-side autos from Japan and it is common to see cars with steering wheels on the wrong side on roads in the Far East and Siberia which are built for right-hand traffic. According to the Japanese Ministry of Finance, Japan exported 131,999 used cars to Russia in 2012.

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