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Abe welcomes Thai leader, urges eased rules on food imports

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

Visiting Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Sinawatra met Thursday with his Tokyo counterpart, Shinzo Abe, and agreed to further deepen the bilateral “strategic partnership,” Japanese officials said.

During the meeting, Abe urged Sinawatra to ease Thai regulations on imported food products from eight prefectures, including Fukushima.

Sinawatra just said she will study the matter, the Foreign Ministry said.

Thailand requires all food products from the eight prefectures to carry a certificate showing they fall below radioactive material thresholds set by Bangkok.

The requirement came into being after the meltdown crisis started at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in 2011 and the subsequent release of massive amounts of radioactive fallout.

Abe also told Sinawatra that Japanese firms can greatly contribute to Thai social infrastructure projects, including one to launch an Earth observation satellite and another to build a high-speed rail system.

She welcomed Abe’s overture, the officials said.

Sinawatra had a 40-minute meeting and 50-minute luncheon with Abe.

Later the same day, she met Crown Prince Naruhito at his palace in Tokyo’s Akasaka district.

Sinawatra, who is to deliver a speech at a Friday symposium hosted by the Nikkei newspaper, came to Tokyo Wednesday on a four-day trip.