Singapore lifts ban on food imported from Fukushima

Kyodo

Singapore will lift a ban on food imports from Fukushima Prefecture imposed amid the nuclear meltdowns crisis, Premier Lee Hsien Loong said Saturday at a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

In response, Abe expressed his gratitude and said, “It gives Fukushima great courage,” government officials said.

Singapore stopped importing food products from Fukushima after the massive earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 unleashed one of the world’s worst nuclear catastrophes at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

Abe and Lee, meeting in the city-state on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, an Asia security conference, also agreed on the need to resolve international disputes peacefully amid China’s territorial claims against neighboring countries in the South China Sea.

“Unilateral development should not take place in areas whose boundary lines are undecided, and disputes should be solved in a peaceful manner,” Abe told Lee in apparent reference to China’s drilling for oil in waters claimed by Vietnam near the Paracel Islands.

Lee replied that he is seeking restraint by all the parties involved, according to the government officials.

The two leaders also agreed to seek an early conclusion of talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade liberalization accord, and to strengthen bilateral security cooperation.

They meanwhile confirmed a plan to revise a bilateral economic partnership agreement that took effect in 2002, with the aim of further promoting trade and investment between the two nations. Abe announced the EPA review plan at a joint news conference with Lee following their summit talks.

Japan has strong economic ties with Singapore, the first territory with which Japan put into force a bilateral free trade agreement.

Abe left Singapore for Tokyo later Saturday.