Saturday, April 16, 2011

Kyodo news: Brazil cagey on import restrictions.

 Brazil will study easing its current import restrictions on Japanese food items once the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power station improves, visiting Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said Saturday.

                                                                                                                 KYODO PHOTO
 Fallen compatriots: Self-Defense Forces members stand and salute victims of the quake and tsunami discovered Saturday in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture.

 "Depending on future developments (at the Fukushima plant), we will consider the possibility of changing or abolishing the restrictions based on scientific standards set by international organizations," Patriota told a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto.
 Brazil, which has the world's largest population of people of Japanese descent outside Japan, has urged Japanese exporters of food and foodstuffs to enclose declaration cards to distinguish products from Fukushima and 11 other prefectures over radiation contamination fears.
 The exporters are also required to declare that the radiation levels of their products are lower than standards set by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization.
 Brazil has been conducting sample inspections of Japanese food imports, mainly intended for Japanese-Brazilian communities and Japanese restaurants, according to Japanese officials.
 Matsumoto admitted at the news conference that Tokyo was only able to disseminate limited information immediately after the twin quake-tsunami disasters, which caused an exodus of foreigners, but said he believes communication has since improved.
 "We will continue to correctly, appropriately and swiftly provide information" on the Fukushima emergency, which is now rated as the world's worst nuclear disaster along with the 1986 Chernobyl accident, Matsumoto said.
 The two ministers said they agreed during their talks that Japan and Brazil will maintain economic and technological cooperation.
 Patriota referred to Tokyo's bid for a major Brazilian high-speed rail link project and Brazil's adoption of the Japanese format for terrestrial digital television broadcasting as examples of bilateral economic ties.
 The Brazilian minister requested that Matsumoto visit the Latin American nation later this year to lay the groundwork for exchanges between the two countries' leaders.
 The two also agreed that Japan and Brazil, which aspire to become permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, will continue to work together for U.N. reform.


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