• Kyodo

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The head of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said Wednesday the safety of food produced in Fukushima is “assured,” despite the import bans still imposed by some countries in the wake of the 2011 nuclear disaster.

“At the moment, we don’t see any reason to raise concern about the safety of food,” FAO Director General Jose Graziano da Silva told a tasting event in Tokyo where he ate sweets made from pears and apples grown in the northeastern prefecture.

“Six years after the accident, we continue to monitor all the foods from the area affected. … We have to say that the Japanese government has been supportive and very transparent despite the difficult situation,” said the director general, who is in Japan from Tuesday to Friday.

Following the nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on March 11, 2011, which led to environmental contamination, many countries introduced import restrictions on Japanese foods.

According to the Foreign Ministry, more than 30 countries and regions, including China, South Korea and Taiwan, still impose such restrictions, while some 20 countries have eased or lifted the measures.

At the event, Kentaro Sonoura, a senior vice foreign minister, also noted that “while reconstruction and recovery work is steadily making progress, the reputation damage from the nuclear accident still remains even after six years.”

He stressed that the Japanese ministries, including foreign and agriculture, as well as its embassies and consulates overseas are working as one to pitch the safety of Japan-made products while urging other governments to remove their import bans.

Fukushima Mayor Kaoru Kobayashi also hoped that the negative reputation would become a thing of the past. He said that the products made in the prefecture are safe due to the advanced technology used in decontamination measures and to the monitoring and inspection system, which he said is the “best in the world.”

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