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14 January, 2016

EU Eases Restrictions on Food Imports from Japan

The European Union (EU) has eased the restrictions it had imposed on Japanese food imports after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants on March 11, 2011. The revised regulation was issued by the European Commission (EC) on January 6, going into effect three days later.

On November 25, 2015, the EC’s Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed endorsed a proposed revised regulation covering restrictions on Japanese food imports due to radioactive materials, based upon which the revised regulation was issued.

Food from the following prefectures will no longer require inspection certificates:

  • Vegetables, fruits (other than persimmons), livestock products, soba and tea produced in Fukushima Prefecture.
  • All food originating in Aomori and Saitama Prefectures.
  • Rice and soybeans originating in six prefectures (Iwate, Miyagi, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba).

The effect is that restrictions on products—including those from Fukushima Prefecture, the site of the accident—have been eased substantially.

At a press conference on January 8, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga welcomed the easing of “some fixed restrictions,” adding that Japan would continue to urge South Korea and other countries with bans on food imports from Japan to do the same.

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