Photo/Illutration Yellowtail from Miyazaki in Japan is displayed at the International Fisheries Expo in Shanghai on Aug. 23. After Aug. 24, imports of marine products from Japan were completely banned. (Ryo Inoue)

The total value of marine products imported from Japan to China plummeted more than two-thirds for August following the suspension of seafood imports over the release of treated radioactive water into the ocean.

According to trade statistics released by the General Administration of Customs of China on Sept. 18, the total value of marine products imported from Japan was 149.02 million yuan ($20.4 million, or 3.02 billion yen), down 67.6 percent from the same month last year.

The drop is believed to be largely due to the total suspension of imports of Japanese seafood products since Aug. 24, when the discharge began of treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant by Tokyo Electric Power Co. into the ocean.

In response to the discharge of water, China has boosted its inspections of Japanese marine products for radioactive materials since early July.

As a result, Japanese fishery products were held for weeks at Chinese customs and exports of mainly fresh fish, which cannot be sold once they lose their freshness, have become virtually impossible.

China had long been Japan's largest seafood customer. According to statistics for July, imports of marine products were down 28.5 percent year-on-year, but the decline was magnified by the total embargo.