Japan Prime Minister Requests ASEAN Nations to Lift Food Import Ban

The way Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing with arrogance Fukushima contaminated produce to Japan’s neighbor nations is no surprise, we can see the influence of his grandfather in the Prime Minister’s own outlook.
The grandfather of current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was as a Class-A war criminal. Nobusuke Kishi, who served for three years as a senior official in the Manchukuo puppet government installed in Shenyang following the invasion. Kishi was initially charged with war crimes but was subsequently cleared of the charges by a Tokyo tribunal. He later rejoined politics and went on to become Prime Minister in 1957.
Mr. Abe is a “revisionist” bent upon denying wartime history, and also rewriting Japan’s pacifist Constitution and reviving militarism.
Mr. Abe, a Conservative politician who took office in December 2012, is attempting to rewrite history and downplay atrocities. Mr. Abe recently angered both China and South Korea – which also faced Japanese occupation – by becoming the first Japanese leader in seven years to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, which honours Japan’s civilian war-dead but also enshrines 14 Class-A war criminals, including officials behind the Nanking massacre.
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Japan has requested ASEAN nations to lift the ban on food import from the country, which was introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
MANILA (Sputnik) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his opening remarks at the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Commemorative Summit in Manila on Tuesday requested ASEAN nations to lift the ban on food import from the country.
“Incidentally, it has been six years since the Great East Japan Earthquake. I strongly request that import controls on Japanese food to be lifted, based on scientific grounds,” Abe said.
The Japanese prime minister added that Japan would start rice deliveries to Laos and Myanmar again through the APT Emergency Rice Reserve Agreement.
Following the devastating Fukushima nuclear accident caused by a massive earthquake in 2011, many countries around the world, including ASEAN nations, introduced various import restrictions on food produced in certain Japanese prefectures. Some countries have eased such restrictions in recent years.
During his previous remarks at APT summits in recent years, Abe brought up the issue of easing import restrictions on food produced in Japan consistently.
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EU to stop radiation check on Fukushima rice etc.

The European Commission shows that once more it does not give a damn about the health of the European, this time by lifting the restrictions and controls on the Fukushima products, rice, some fishes and seafood!!!

 

The problem is it might not even be clearly labelled  from Fukushima, and most of people in Europe are still quite ignorant of internal radiation thru contaminated produce.
The EU allows Chernobyl area berries and mushrooms to be labeled as organic. Fukushima rice should fit right in .

From November 29, 2016 The harvests of Chernobyl https://aeon.co/essays/ukraine-s-berry-pickers-are-reaping-a-radioactive-bounty

 

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The European Union has decided to lift import control on some agricultural produce and seafood from Japanese prefectures affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
Currently, food products from 13 Japanese prefectures remain under control even after gradual easing by the EU. These products cannot enter EU nations without a radiation safety certificate to prove the product is within the EU safety standards.
Starting on December 1st, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, will phase out the certificate on some products from 10 prefectures.
Those products include rice from Fukushima Prefecture, yellowtail fish, red sea bream, some mushrooms and mountain vegetables. All products from Akita Prefecture will have been cleared.
No restriction on Fukushima rice will mean that rice from other prefectures will no longer need a certificate. Observers say this would encourage rice farmers across the nation to export more.
The Japanese government has been asking the EU to lift restrictions on all the remaining controlled products.

Blanket radiation checks on Fukushima rice under debate

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FUKUSHIMA – Blanket radiation checks on rice produced in nuclear disaster-hit Fukushima Prefecture have come under debate because no rice with radiation exceeding the safety limit has been found in recent years.
Some people, including producers, in the prefecture call for continuing the current system because there are consumers who still avoid Fukushima produce. But the blanket checks are costly and require a lot of manpower.
The prefectural government hopes to decide by year-end whether to change the radiation checks, starting with rice that will be harvested next year, officials said.
The blanket checks were introduced after many parts of the prefecture were contaminated with radioactive substances released because of the 2011 nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
Fukushima rice is put through radiation checks bag by bag before shipment. The safety limit is set at 100 becquerels per 1 kg of rice.
Rice that pass the checks have certification labels attached to the bags before being put through distribution channels.
According to Fukushima officials, the total amount of rice harvested last year and checked by the end of September this year reached 10.26 million bags.
To cover the expenses, the prefectural government collects ¥5 billion from Tepco each year. Some ¥500 million to ¥600 million in personnel expenses are covered with state subsidies.
The prefecture conducted radiation checks on a total of 53.13 million bags of rice harvested between 2012-2016. Total costs reached ¥30.5 billion.
The blanket check system began with the 2012 rice. At that time, 71 of the 867 bags checked exceeded the safety limit. But no such rice was detected at all for the 2014-2016 rice.
As of Oct. 25 this year, radiation levels stood below the minimum detectable level of 25 becquerels for 99.99 percent of the 2016 rice that underwent the checks.
The absence of above-limit rice has led some people to question the blanket check system. The continuance of the system may be making the unintended effect of fueling consumer concern about Fukushima rice, one critic said.
To discuss the fate of the blanket system, the prefecture set up a group with members of agricultural and consumer organizations in July this year.
The group will examine the issue based on opinions from more than 300 local farmers and seven wholesale companies in the Tokyo metropolitan area. It will also conduct an internet survey of 2,000 consumers nationwide.
Hisao Tomita, a farmer working in the city of Fukushima, called for the continuance of the current system even though it is burdensome also to producers.
As long as Fukushima rice is affected by negative rumors, radiation checks should be maintained even if they have to be scaled back, he said.

The Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry urges Taiwan to ease 3/11 food import ban

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TAIPEI – The Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry is urging Taiwan to ease its ban on food imports from five prefectures imposed as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
In its annual white paper released Friday, the Taipei branch of the business group expressed hope that Taiwan will work to join regional economic cooperation agreements and sign a free trade deal with Japan.
“To create an environment conducive to regional participation in economic liberalization, Taiwan must amend regulations that are applied only here and run counter to international practices,” it said.
The chairman of the JCCI’s Taipei branch, Takeshi Yagi, cited two examples: The high tariffs imposed on Japanese rice wines and the ban on food imports from Fukushima and surrounding areas in place since 2011.
Last November, Taiwan was considering easing the import ban in two stages.
In the first stage, while the ban on imports of all food products from Fukushima Prefecture would remain in place, the ban on certain items from nearby Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures would be lifted. In the second stage, to be implemented possibly six months later, restrictions would be further relaxed.
But that plan faced strong opposition from the opposition Nationalist Party (KMT), which questioned the government’s ability to ensure the safety of the products. And the government backed away from the plan following revelations that banned food products had nevertheless slipped into the country and been sold.
While the JCCI hopes to see the ban lifted fully, Yagi said it would be happy to see it eased in a phased manner.
On regional economic integration, Yagi said the JCCI is not in a position to comment on how Taiwan’s strained relations with China might impact its bid to join regional trading blocs such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
But the JCCI did urge Taiwan to map out more concrete plans concerning its “New Southbound Policy,” which calls for bolstering relations with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus Australia, New Zealand and nations in South Asia.
Regarding purely domestic issues, the JCCI urged Taiwan to amend labor laws, cut red tape and ease rules for foreign investors.
The JCCI began releasing an annual white paper on business issues pertaining to Taiwan in 2009. The report assesses Taiwan’s business climate and summarizes recommendations to the Taiwan government on public policies, legislation and measures that impact Japanese companies’ operations in Taiwan.
Despite the absence of official diplomatic ties, which were severed in 1972, the unofficial relationship between Taiwan and Japan has remained robust. Japan is Taiwan’s third-largest trading partner after China including Hong Kong, while Taiwan is Japan’s fourth-largest trading partner.

WTO panel rules on Korea’s ban on Japanese seafood

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September 28th. Banners and calls for government action at Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Square: “We oppose imports of radioactive, contaminated Japanese seafood.”
 
A dozen civic groups are protesting the lifting of an import ban on Japanese seafood.
“It’s been more than six years since the Fukushima nuclear disaster, but radiation-tainted water is still being released into the sea. If the government lifts the restrictions, contaminated Japanese seafood will enter Korea.”
 
Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, the Korean government slapped a temporary import ban on Japanese food. It then extended the ban to all fishery products from eight Japanese prefectures around Fukushima in September 2013, citing safety concerns.
 
In mid-2015, Tokyo lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization against the restrictions.
After several bilateral meetings, a dispute resolution panel was set up in Feburary 2016, and this weekthe WTO panel sent its first dispute resolution report.
 
“Yes, both Seoul and Tokyo received the panel’s interim decision on Tuesday. For now, we cannot reveal the outcome as the concerning party’s duty. The result will be made public next spring, after it’s translated into three languages. What we can say now is that we will take measures if we think the panel’s ruling poses a risk to public health.”
 
In the complaint, Japan argued the Korean government lacked an explanation and scientific proof to back its restriction measures, adding Seoul had failed respond to Tokyo’s requests to answer its questions.
 
“In 2014 and 2015, Korea dispatched experts to conduct inspections in Fukushima. But, according to what I’ve found through information disclosure requests, under pressure from the Japanese government, the team didn’t conduct inspections in deep water, oceanfloor deposits as originally planned. Such inspections are critical to finding levels of contamination.”
 
The inspection team was disbanded in 2015 without a clear reason, and there was no final report on the inspection.
Experts believe it’s highly likely Korea lost the first panel ruling.
Once the outcome is made public next year, Korea has 60 days to hold discussions with Japan, and 15 months of appeal process, if it decides to do so.
 
“The Korean government needs to see how Japan is controlling its radiation tainted water, and conduct a thorough inspection in Fukushima, including of deep seawater, to show the import ban is fair. Secondly, the Korean government needs to take active measures to release whatever the inspection team found in 2014 and 2015 to restore people’s trust.”
 
Importing food is a matter of a nation’s sovereign rights.
A number of other countries, including China, Russia, Singapore and the U.S. all have some sort of import restriction measures, with China banning imports from ten prefectures in Japan, and Russia banning not just fresh seafood, but processed seafood.
Thus, the WTO ruling could have a broader impact and give Japan the basis to claim that food produced in the Fukushima region is 99 percent safe.
 
“There’s no safety level. Food safety standards differ according to the scientific research methods and the machines you use. No matter how small, radioactive material like Cesium, which stays in a natural state for a long time, accumulates in fish. If consumed by people, there’s a possibility it can cause cancer.”
 
Following the import ban in 2011, Japanese seafood imports to Korea have slumped to less than half the level they were at before the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Many Koreans are worried about the possible resumption of seafood imports from Japan.
 
“Then, people won’t be conscious or cautious of food from Fukushima, and I’m worried my child will eat Japanese seafood. The government should protect the public’s health.”
 
“With concerns about radioactive contamination in seafood imports from Japan, and a lack of transparency from the government, the Korean public is calling on the administration to take the necessary measures that guarantee the safety of the nation’s food supply.
Kim Hyesung, Arirang News. ”

Japan attempting to force contaminated food products onto the market

A World Trade Organization panel has apparently ruled in Japan’s favor in a dispute over South Korean restrictions on imports of Japanese seafood imposed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Both sides had been informed of the panel’s decision as of Tuesday. Tokyo declined to reveal the outcome but said it was “consistent with Japan’s position.” A final report is expected to be made public by next spring.
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WTO panel said to back Japan on Fukushima fish ban

Tokyo has called South Korean restrictions on seafood imports unfair
GENEVA/SEOUL — A World Trade Organization panel has apparently ruled in Japan’s favor in a dispute over South Korean restrictions on imports of Japanese seafood imposed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Both sides had been informed of the panel’s decision as of Tuesday. Tokyo declined to reveal the outcome but said it was “consistent with Japan’s position.” A final report is expected to be made public by next spring.
The WTO dispute settlement process lets parties appeal panel decisions. Ryu Young-jin, South Korea’s minister of food and drug safety, told lawmakers in the National Assembly on Tuesday that the country would appeal any ruling against it by the panel “in the interest of public health.”
For Tokyo, a victory would mark progress on rolling back restrictions on imports of fish and other seafood from waters off eastern Japan. The South Korean ban, which Japan claims is unfair under WTO rules, was imposed in 2013. Japan tried and failed to talk the matter out with South Korea in 2015, prompting Tokyo to request the establishment of the dispute resolution panel.
What happens next remains unclear. South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported that the import ban would stay in place until at least 2019.
A number of other countries have imposed similar restrictions on Japanese seafood for fear of radioactive contamination, so the ruling could have a broader impact.

Seoul considers appeal against WTO ruling on Fukushima seafood ban

SEOUL, Oct. 18 (Yonhap) — South Korea is considering appealing the World Trade Organization (WTO) panel findings that its import restrictions on Japanese seafood after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster were unfair, the country’s trade ministry said Wednesday.
Japan lodged a complaint at the WTO in 2015 to challenge South Korea’s import bans and additional testing requirements on fish caught from eight prefectures near Fukushima since 2013.
On Tuesday, WTO’s dispute settlement panel in Geneva ruled in favor of Japan and notified the two sides of the result.
“We will appeal in accordance with the WTO procedures if (its decision) is considered unfair and affects the government’s ability to safeguard the health of our people,” the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a release. “Public health concerns are our top priority.”
Under WTO rules, South Korea has 60 days to appeal to an appellate body, which could delay imports of Fukushima-related seafood for another two years during the deliberation period.
Details of the final result will be available to WTO member nations in January and will be open to the public afterwards, the ministry said.

MEPs to raise alarm on Fukushima food imports

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Members of the European Parliament’s food safety committee will vote on a text on Thursday (7 September), raising the alarm over a European Commission proposal to partly relax controls on food imports from Fukushima, Japan, which suffered a nuclear disaster in 2011.

The draft resolution, seen by EUobserver, said “there are sufficient reasons to believe that this proposal could lead to an increase in exposure to radioactive contaminated food with a corresponding impact on human health”.

The MEPs’ text highlighted that, under the commission’s proposal, rice and derived products from the Fukushima prefecture would no longer be subject to emergency inspections. It stressed that one of those products is “rice used in baby food and food for young children”.

The text criticised that the commission’s proposal did not justify why some foodstuffs were taken off the list.

However, the MEPs’ concerns may already be outdated.

Cautious

Danish centre-left MEP Christel Schaldemose, one of the text’s sponsors, spoke to EUobserver on Tuesday over the phone.

“We are completely relying on data from the Japanese side. … We need to be cautious,” she said.

“I wouldn’t say we can’t trust them, but it is worth checking ourselves,” said Schaldemose.

The resolution is an initiative by French Green MEP Michele Rivasi, who has been working on the text since June 2017.

In parallel, Rivasi and two of her Greens colleagues, also asked the commission for an explanation through a written question, on 14 July.

On 22 August, EU commissioner for food safety Vytenis Andriukaitis answered, telling MEPs that the proposed changes are based on publicly available data from the Japanese government.

Andriukaitis included a link to the raw data in a footnote, and said that if MEPs wanted to have a “detailed justification for the proposed changes”, they can get them “by separate mail, upon request”.

According to a commission source, Rivasi will receive this justification after having requested it.

Meanwhile, however, work on the resolution continued, and is now on the agenda for a vote on Thursday.

It received the support from five other MEPs, including two from the two largest political groups in the EU parliament.

Free trade agreement

The parliament’s text, which is non-binding, also mentioned that Japanese exports of rice could increase under the EU-Japan free trade agreement (FTA), which the commission is expected to wrap up this year.

In a briefing which Green MEP Rivasi gave to journalists last July, according to a summary provided by her office, the French politician implied that the proposal on Fukushima was a bargaining chip in the negotiations for the FTA, and called it a “scandal”.

The left-wing Greens are generally critical of FTAs.

Rivasi referred to a remark commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker made following an EU-Japan summit on 6 July.

“I would like to congratulate prime minister Abe on the remarkable progress Japan has made on making products from the Fukushima region safe, following the 2011 accident,” Juncker had said.

“I am confident and I will work into that direction that we will have after the summer break a further lifting of import measures,” he added.

A commission spokeswoman told EUobserver, however, that the proposed changes are based on a thorough analysis.

“The requirement for pre-testing before export is lifted only for food and feed from a prefecture where sufficient data demonstrate that food and feed is compliant in the last growing season with the strict maximum levels applicable in Japan,” she said.

The emergency restrictions were put in place two weeks after the accident happened, and have already been amended five times.

The decision is taken by a so-called implementing act, which only involves the commission and member states, but not the EU parliament.

https://euobserver.com/environment/138902