Japan, China to discuss food ban

BEIJING — The Japanese and Chinese governments have agreed to hold negotiations aimed at easing China’s restrictions on imports of Japanese foodstuffs, measures put in place following the outbreak of a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The relevant bureau directors general from both sides met in Beijing on Friday, it has been learned. The event marked the first such talks since the crisis began and a move toward compromise by China.

A bureau director general of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry participated in the Friday meeting, as did China’s director general in charge of food inspections. The Japan side said it thoroughly supervised agricultural products and urged China to ease its restrictions, saying Japanese agricultural products are safe and that resolving the issue of import restrictions would contribute to the development of both nations.

China agreed to continue talks on the subject.

In addition to banning the imports of foodstuffs from 10 prefectures, including Fukushima, China requires the submission of a “radiation inspection certifi-cate” for the import of certain items from the other 37 prefectures, such as vegetables, fruit, dairy products and tea leaves.

Because the form of this certificate has not been decided, however, imports have been effectively halted.

About 50 countries and regions had curbed imports of Japanese foodstuffs at one point in the wake of the nuclear crisis. But 13 countries have lifted such rules entirely, and the trend toward easing restrictions is growing.

Source: Yomiuri


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