EU Lifts Restrictions on Japanese Food Products

The bloc imposed the limits following the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, center, walks with European Council President Charles Michel, left, as he shakes hands with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Brussels, July 13, 2023.
Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, center, walks with European Council President Charles Michel, left, as he shakes hands with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Brussels, July 13, 2023.
AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert

BRUSSELS (AP) β€” The European Union and Japan celebrated their close cooperation with Thursday's announcement that the 27-nation bloc will lift the food import restrictions it had imposed in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held a short summit with EU leaders Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, further cementing a diplomatic unity that was only reinforced since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

"We know that the Pacific security and European security are indivisible," von der Leyen said after both leaders discussed their joint strategic challenges at the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania.

In an attempt to decrease their dependencies for critical raw materials on China, Japan and the EU decided to step up their cooperation in that sector too.

And a dozen years after an earthquake set off the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the EU decided to lift the remaining import restrictions based on the advice of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"We have taken this decision based on science and based on the proof of evidence," von der Leyen said.

Japan at the same time agreed to be more lenient on EU farm and food imports.

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