Tokyo, Mar 11 (efe-epa).- On the 10th anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the Fukushima nuclear accident, Japan’s foreign minister on Thursday called for the lifting of import restrictions on products from the region.
The ongoing restrictions are “extremely regrettable,” Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said in a statement, adding that “the government of Japan will make its utmost efforts, based on scientific evidence, to have the restrictions lifted as early as possible.”
Fifteen of the 54 countries and regions that tightened up on the import of food products produced in Fukushima in the wake of the 2011 nuclear accident still maintain some restrictions.
Among these territories are the European Union, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The three Asian countries were among the top five Japanese food export destinations in 2020.
Agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports from Fukushima prefecture recovered to pre-disaster levels in 2017 and “have continued to hit record highs for three consecutive years since then,” Motegi said.
The Japanese government wants restrictions lifted to help improve them further.
Aside from this issue, which the Japanese authorities have repeatedly blamed on rumors that continue to cause reputational damage to the northeast region of the country, the head of diplomacy sent a message of appreciation for the international support received in the wake of the disaster.
Motegi recalled the dispatch of personnel from 24 countries as well as international organizations to search for the missing and provide medical support after the catastrophe, as well as the monetary donations to contribute to the management and recovery of the area.
Japan received donations worth 17.5 billion yen ($161 million) and other materials from more than 100 countries and organizations, according to the foreign affairs ministry.
“The Japanese people will never forget the generosity shown and the support kindly provided by the people of the world in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake,” the minister said.
Motegi also highlighted the global increase in the frequency of natural disasters and the importance of strengthening prevention measures and capacities, an area that Japan seeks to play a key role in after the lessons it has learned. EFE-EPA