Japan urges China to lift meltdown-linked import ban on farm, other products


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.

  • Bernadette Soubirous

    Japan, don’t worry about the ban. It is just an excuse for the Chinese government to support their pitiful farm industry. I would suggest trying to find other markets to ship to. Vietnam may or Australia. Ban food products from China. We know that most food stuff coming out of China is not good anyway.

    HONG KONG — Even for China’s scandal-numbed diners, inured to endless outrages about food hazards, news that the lamb simmering in the pot may actually be rat tested new depths of disgust.

    In an announcement intended to show that the government is serious about improving food safety, the Ministry of Public Security said on Thursday that the police had caught a gang of traders in eastern China who bought rat, fox and mink flesh and sold it as mutton. But that and other cases of meat smuggling, faking and adulteration featured in Chinese newspapers and Web sites on Friday were unlikely to instill confidence in consumers already queasy over many reports about meat, fruit and vegetables laden with disease, toxins, banned dyes and preservatives.

  • soshelpme

    It is a negotiation, maybe you ought to give something before you ask for something in return?

    • Tachomanx

      It’s fair trade, how about Japan banning certain products from China entering the country?

  • jimhopf

    One more example of using nuclear fear mongering to advance another agenda (i.e., an excuse to engage in protectionism).