March 25, 2011 / 7:57 AM / 9 years ago

China says 2 Japanese visitors had high radiation level

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Friday two Japanese travellers who flew into an eastern city this week were found to have radiation levels well above safety limits.

“Tests showed that the two travellers seriously exceeded the limit,” the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said, referring to radiation levels. It said the travellers flew into Wuxi city on Wednesday.

The radiation detected on the travellers marks the first time serious contamination from the nuclear crisis in Japan has reached China, although the agency’s statement said the individuals were given medical treatment and presented no risk to others.

The inspection service did not define radiation limits, and Japanese authorities have said no one in Japan, aside from workers at the nuclear plant crippled after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, has been found to have seriously elevated radiation levels.

The travellers came from Nagano and Saitama prefectures in Japan, the agency said. Japanese Embassy officials in Beijing had no immediate comment.

On Tuesday, China detected what it said were “abnormal” radiation levels on a Japanese merchant ship entering the port at Xiamen in eastern Fujian province, AQSIQ said.

The agency said in a separate notice on its website that local inspection teams discovered the radiation on the “MOL Presence,” a ship owned by Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, when it docked in Xiamen early on Tuesday morning.

The notice was dated March 22 and did not give details about the radiation levels found on the ship, but said, without elaborating, that local authorities were taking additional measures.

A spokesman for the agency did not say if it was the ship or the goods onboard that were giving off abnormal radiation, according to China’s Xinhua news agency, which reported the news on Friday.

The ship left Tokyo on March 17 and was still docked at the port in Xiamen, Xinhua reported.

AQSIQ has said it will monitor for higher than normal radiation on imported goods following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that triggered a crisis at several Japanese nuclear facilities. On Monday, it said it would step up monitoring of imported food from Japan.

Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Chris Buckley and Ken Wills

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