Dec 29, 2014

The Foreign Ministry will help local governments tear down overseas barriers on food imports maintained because of worries over radiation, sources said.

Some states still ban some imports of agricultural, forestry and fishery products because of the fear of contamination from Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. As a result, the ministry will cooperate with local governments in organizing events overseas to assure regulators and consumers that products are safe.

In 2015, the ministry plans to hold two to three such events, the sources said Sunday.

Unfounded rumors are a matter of life and death for municipalities where agriculture, fisheries or forestry are key industries.

The ministry said 13 countries, including Canada and Vietnam, have lifted import restrictions imposed after the accident on agricultural, forestry and fishery products from affected areas, but nine economies including South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan still have bans.

South Korea bans marine products from prefectures such as Miyagi and Fukushima.

Many countries also implement some kind of import control, such as requiring safety certificates.

When the ministry holds the events abroad, it will give assistance through embassies, aiming to allay concerns among local companies and media organizations.

A senior ministry official said the support for local governments boils down to wanting to disseminate correct information and to sell Japan’s attractions.

Source: Japan Times