BEIJING – Japan urged China on Monday to scrap import restrictions on farm, forestry and fisheries products that were put in place after the Fukushima nuclear crisis erupted in March 2011.
Kazuyoshi Honkawa, vice minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, made the request at a bilateral subcabinet-level dialogue in Beijing on agricultural issues.
The dialogue was resumed for the first time in six years, after the talks were suspended by Chinese outrage over Japan’s effective nationalization of the Senkaku Islands, which are claimed by both China and Taiwan.
After the triple core meltdown took place at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, China prohibited all imports of agricultural, forestry and fisheries products from 10 prefectures including Fukushima, Miyagi and Ibaraki over radiation fears.
Honkawa asked Chinese Vice Agriculture Minister Qu Dongyu to urge authorities to lift the ban, which is administered by China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.
Honkawa said he did not receive a clear answer on the issue from the Chinese ministry.
After the dialogue, he told reporters that the rapidly growing Chinese market is very attractive for Japanese agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries, suggesting his ministry’s aim of expanding farm exports to China.
Economic relations between Japan and China have been on the mend in recent months.
At talks last November, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang agreed to restart a high-level economic dialogue that brings together the two countries’ key economic officials at an early date this year. In December, Japan and China held economic partnership talks led by vice ministerial officials for the first time in more than five years.