Philippines lifts restrictions on importing Fukushima food

Kyodo News

Posted at Jan 09 2020 05:41 PM | Updated as of Jan 09 2020 08:30 PM

MANILA - Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said Thursday his country has lifted restrictions on Japanese food imports imposed following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster due to lower risks of radioactive contamination.

Locsin said during a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi in Manila that the Philippines had eliminated the need for radiation test results for shipments of some types of seafood and agricultural products from Fukushima and its surrounding areas on Wednesday.

"I look forward to safe Japanese food reaching many of the people of the Philippines," Motegi told a joint press briefing after the meeting.

The Southeast Asian country had required the test for beef and vegetables from Fukushima and Ibaraki, as well as seafood from the two prefectures along with Tochigi and Gunma following the March 2011 triple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, triggered by a powerful earthquake and tsunami.

A total of 54 countries and regions took such measures following the crisis. With the announcement by the Philippines, that number falls to 20, with the United States, China and South Korea among countries maintaining restrictions of some kind, according to the farm ministry.

Motegi and Locsin also agreed to step up security cooperation, with an eye to countering China's militarization of artificial islands in disputed parts of the South China Sea, as well as on boosting economic cooperation including on infrastructure development.

Following the meeting, the two signed an agreement for Japan to provide a low-interest loan of up to 4.4 billion yen ($40 million) to reinforce major bridges in Manila.