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8 November, 2019

EU to Ease Restrictions on Japanese Food Imports, Though Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Asserts Japan Will Work Toward Their Full Elimination

On October 29, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced that the European Union (EU) would ease restrictions on imports of some foods from Japan imposed in the wake of the huge earthquake that struck eastern Japan in March 2011.

As a result, as of November 14, radioactive materials inspection certificates will no longer be required for the following:
・All food items produced in Iwate, Tochigi and Chiba Prefectures.
・Soybeans from Fukushima Prefectures.
・Aquatic products from Miyagi, Ibaraki and Gunma Prefectures
・Mushrooms from Nagano, Ibaraki and Niigata Prefectures.

At a press conference on October 30, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga welcomed the decision, saying, “The Japanese government will make a concerted effort toward the full elimination of restrictions on Japanese food imports that have continued since the massive earthquake.”

European Commission (EC) President Jean-Claude Juncker had voiced the prospect of easing restrictions on imports at an EU-Japan summit meeting during the G20 Osaka Summit in June of this year.

Prior to that, on October 28, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced that officials in Macao had removed restrictions on October 24 on the import of vegetables, fruits and dairy products from Miyagi, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Niigata and Nagano Prefectures, on the condition that they include a certificate of origin. Import restrictions of foods produced in Fukushima were continued, however.

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