Egypt to ease ban on Japan food

Kyodo

The Egyptian government plans to ease a ban soon on food imports from Japan imposed due to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant triple-meltdown crisis, government sources said Tuesday.

The easing is likely to come by the end of this month, the sources said, with the fisheries sector expected to be a major beneficiary as the African nation had been the largest importer of Japan’s mackerel prior to the disaster.

Once the ban is lifted, fish from 36 prefectures can be exported to Egypt if private-sector certificates show they are free from levels of radioactivity considered harmful, the sources said.

Nonfishery foods from the 36 prefectures would be able to be exported without any such certificates, while exports of nonfishery foods from the remaining 11 prefectures would be resumed if certain conditions are met, the sources said.

Japan exported about $38 million worth of mackerel to Egypt in 2010, followed by about $15 million worth of mackerel exported to Thailand, according to the Japan External Trade Organization.