The British government has begun the process of lifting restrictions on imports of farm products from Japan as a step taken in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident. This could open the possibility to such imports as soon as the spring of next year.
In evaluating possible health risks associated with Japanese food imports, Britain has concluded that lifting import restrictions will not impact consumers in the country.
In its domestic process, Britain will solicit public opinions on the new policy until February before taking an official decision, according to the Japanese department of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.
There are 23 products like bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and bonito varieties from Fukushima, as well as eight other prefectures that require a strict radioactive screening and require proof of the test before they’re shipped to Britain.
The eight prefectures include Miyagi, Yamagata, Ibaraki, Gunma, Niigata, Yamanashi, Nagano and Shizuoka.
While lifting the ban, certification of origin that are required now for the farm products produced or processed in Japanese prefectures that are not part of the above mentioned nine prefectures will not be necessary for exports to Britain.
According to The Ministry of Agriculture, the value of exports of Japanese agricultural products to Britain reached 4.5 billion yen ($39.7 million) in the year 2010. The figure dropped down to 3.7 billion yen in 2012 due to the nuclear meltdown that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in the month of March the previous year.
Japanese exports of agricultural products to Britain increased by 5.6 billion yen by 2020. Japan intends to keep urging the lifting of import restrictions in the region of 13 nations and countries, including China and South Korea, that maintain them because of security issues.
The United States lifted its import restrictions on Japanese agricultural products in September. In addition, the European Union eased part of its restrictions in October.
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