Brussels, July 13 (EFE).- The European Union Thursday announced the end of all food import restrictions on Japan imposed in 2011 following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen announced the decision on the sidelines of a summit in Brussels between Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and EU leaders Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel.
“We have taken this decision based on science and based on the proof of evidence,” von der Leyen said.
A European Commission statement said the lifting of the restrictions stemmed from “positive results from controls done on the products by the Japanese authorities and the EU member states.”
“We have one of the world’s highest food safety standards in the world in the EU, upholding them is the key priority of our work,” said Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.
“This is why, following the diligent work of the Japanese authorities and the close collaboration with our experts over the past years, we are now in the position to lift the import restrictions for food from Fukushima.”
Kyriakides said the favorable control results of recent years demonstrated the strong commitment and cooperation of Japanese partners.
The EU restricted Japanese food products as a health measure after Fukushima nuclear disaster, fearing possible radioactive contamination.
The 27-nation bloc imposed extensive pre-export testing of food products to detect radioactivity.
Since the adoption of the restrictions in 2011, the measures have been reviewed by the commission every second year and have been progressively eased as risks declined.
The last review took place in September 2021 and limited the pre-export testing restrictions to wild mushrooms, some fish species, and wild edible plants.
A strict maximum level of 100 becquerel/kg has been in place in the EU for food from Japan since June 2011.
“The maximum has always been fully respected, demonstrating the effectiveness of the Japanese control and monitoring systems,” the EU said.
“Now that the restrictions have been fully lifted, it is however important that the Japanese government continues to monitor domestic production for radioactivity.”
The EU statement said it included fish, fishery products, and seaweed close to the release site of the contaminated cooling water.
“They should be monitored for the presence of radionuclides, including tritium. It is also important that the Japanese government makes all the results publicly available.”
The EU member states endorsed the regulation lifting the restrictions, adopted by the commission. EFE