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US lifts post-Fukushima import restrictions on Japan farm products

Suga further tweeted that he had asked for an early removal of the restrictions when he met with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington in April and said the government “needs to continue its efforts in order to have similar import restrictions lifted in other countries and regions as well.” Japanese farm products now cleared for shipping to the United States include rice harvested in Fukushima, bamboo shoots from Iwate and shiitake mushrooms.

This Feb. 13, 2021 photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter shows the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

September 22, 2021

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The United States has lifted all of its restrictions on imports of food products from Japan established in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan’s farm ministry said Wednesday.

Under the restrictions, U.S. imports of a total of 100 agricultural products produced in 14 Japanese prefectures including Fukushima had been suspended.

The other 13 prefectures were Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Yamagata, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Niigata, Yamanashi, Nagano and Shizuoka.

Welcoming the U.S. decision, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday on Twitter, “It is a move that people in the disaster-hit areas have been waiting for, and something that will greatly contribute to the recovery of those places. Japan welcomes this step very much.”

Suga further tweeted that he had asked for an early removal of the restrictions when he met with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington in April and said the government “needs to continue its efforts in order to have similar import restrictions lifted in other countries and regions as well.”

Japanese farm products now cleared for shipping to the United States include rice harvested in Fukushima, bamboo shoots from Iwate and shiitake mushrooms.

“The abolition of U.S. import restrictions will have a great impact on other countries and regions,” a ministry official said.

The European Union also plans to ease import restrictions on Japanese farm and food products on Oct. 10, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forest and Fisheries said Tuesday.

According to the ministry, the United States is the third-largest importer of Japanese farm and food products after Hong Kong and China.

Japanese exports of farm products and food to the United States totaled 118.8 billion yen ($1.09 billion) in 2020.

With the United States’ lifting of import restrictions, effective on Tuesday local time, the number of countries and regions imposing such measures on Japanese farm and food products decreased to 14.

In the wake of the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following a massive tsunami caused by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake on March 11, 2011, 55 countries and regions placed restrictions on imports of Japanese farm and food products amid fear of potential contamination with radioactive materials.

Japanese farmers, particularly those in the region close to the Fukushima nuclear plant, have gone to great lengths to regain consumer trust in their products at home and abroad, including compliance with strict safety inspections. Nonetheless, concerns over the quality of such products still linger.

The farm ministry plans to urge the 14 countries and regions including Hong Kong and China to abolish the remaining import restrictions on Japanese products.

Meanwhile, despite the latest U.S. measure, some food products subject to Japan’s own export restrictions cannot be shipped overseas.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210922/p2g/00m/0na/016000c?fbclid=IwAR04IovE4Bvag3h2CpY9uqwyE6Wch3mAn-ZxjJGbAp9u8bLc3yXfKFGDQEE

September 24, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

U.S. lifts post-Fukushima import restrictions on Japan farm products

A trial cultivation of vegetables is carried out in the Nagadoro district of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, in August.

September 22, 2021

Citing ‘robust control measures,’ the United States on Wednesday lifted an import ban on food products from prefectures hit by the earthquake, tsunami and triple meltdown disaster that struck northeastern Japan in 2011.

The ban, which was put in place following the tsunami-triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, affected 100 agricultural, forestry, fishery and food products from 14 prefectures, including rice and shiitake mushrooms produced in Fukushima.

The other 13 prefectures were Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Yamagata, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Niigata, Yamanashi, Nagano and Shizuoka.

Ten years after the accident, the number of countries and regions that have imposed import restrictions now totals 14, down from the initial 55.

The news was immediately welcomed in Japan, where officials have long insisted that products from the disaster-hit regions are safe to consume.

“This decision has been long-awaited by people in the disaster-stricken areas, and it will be of great help in their recovery efforts.” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga tweeted on Wednesday. “Japan greatly welcomes this decision.”

Suga added that he was “deeply moved” by the U.S. policy change.

“I personally lobbied President (Joe) Biden for the early elimination of the ban during my visit to the United States in April,” Suga added. “The government must continue to work together to eliminate import restrictions in each country and region.”

In announcing the move, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cited “extensive analysis of Japan’s robust control measures,” and pointed to 10 years of sampling of food products from Japan.

The decision came after the FDA determined “a very low risk to American consumers from radioactive contaminated foods imported from Japan,” the agency said a statement.

The EU has also decided to relax its related import restrictions next month.

The export value of Japanese agricultural products and food items to the U.S. was ¥118.8 billion in 2020, making it Japan’s third largest export destination after Hong Kong and China, according to the ministry.

“The impact of (the United States’ move) is huge,” an agriculture ministry official said, expressing hope that countries still imposing restrictions will be encouraged to ease or lift them.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/09/22/business/us-lifts-fukushima-import-ban/

September 24, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

GE Avoids Japanese Plaintiffs’ Suit Over Fukushima Damages

db0ip7zd23b50.cloudfront.netGeneral Electric Co. logos are displayed on the outside of enclosed jet engine test tunnels at the GE Aviation Test Operations facility in Peebles, Ohio, on April 14, 2015.

 

April 24, 2020

General Electric Co. won’t have to face Japanese plaintiffs’ suit stemming from the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima nuclear meltdown, the First Circuit said in affirming dismissal Friday.

A district court in Massachusetts properly found the plaintiffs have an adequate alternative forum in Japan, even though GE can’t be sued there because of a Japanese law that makes plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. solely liable, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit said.

https://news.bloomberglaw.com/product-liability-and-toxics-law/ge-avoids-japanese-plaintiffs-suit-over-fukushima-damages

May 14, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

S. Korea, US Discuss Fukushima Wastewater, Marine Issues

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January 17, 2020

South Korea and the U.S. held a director-level meeting on maritime and environment issues in Seoul on Thursday.

According to the Foreign Ministry on Friday, the two sides discussed the possibility of Japan releasing contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster site into the ocean.

They also shared views on ways to preserve marine environments.

The two sides discussed how they plan to reduce marine debris and ways to open the Seventh International Marine Debris Conference in South Korea in 2022.

During the meeting, South Korea called on the U.S. to swiftly take steps to remove South Korea from its preliminary list of countries that engage in illegal, unreported, and unregulated(IUU) fishing.

South Korea was designated as a preliminary IUU fishing country by the U.S. after two South Korean fishing boats violated closed fishing grounds and operated near Antarctica in 2017.

http://world.kbs.co.kr/service/news_view.htm?lang=e&Seq_Code=150721

January 21, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , , | Leave a comment