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Japan asks Philippines to lift import ban on agricultural products

Staff writer |
Japan is urging the Philippines to lift import restrictions on some agricultural products, which were introduced five years ago.

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Japan now secured third party certifications on the safety of their exports from radiation and contamination.

Tetsuya Otsuru, director of economic policy of the Division for Promotion of Public-Private Partnership of the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told visiting reporters from ASEAN that some governments banned or imposed import restrictions on certain Japanese agriculture and fishery products after the unprecedented intensity 9 earthquake hit the eastern part of Japan generating the devastating tsunami and nuclear plant disaster.

Otsuru said that third party inspection laboratories have already certified Japanese products free from radioactive contaminants.

“So we’ve been requesting governments to lift or at least ease these import restrictions based on scientific data and not on emotion or panic or mere opinions,” he said.

For instance, he reported that three countries in ASEAN — Philippines, Brunei and Indonesia — still implement import restrictions on certain Japanese produce.

The Philippines has imposed restrictions on the import of vegetables and fruits, plants and seedlings from 45 prefectures other than Fukushima,and Ibaraki. Imports of these items are required to submit report of radiation level issued by third party inspection laboratories.

He said the review of the bilateral Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement is an opportunity for Japan to raise this issue.

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