EU lifts some restrictions on food imports from Japan

TOKYO, Oct. 10 – The European Union will ease its import restrictions on some Japanese food products effective October 10, 2021. EU introduced the restrictions after the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant accident. Under the rule, it has been requesting exporters of mushrooms from Fukushima and five other Japanese prefectures to submit certificates of radiological examination and other prefectures certificates of origin. These certificates are no longer required except for the wild mushrooms and some wild mountain vegetables such as koshiabura, a popular ingredient for tempura Japanese classic deep-fried dish.

EU announced the plan for the rule change on September 20. Norwegian and Iceland, which have similar restrictions, will also loosen the regulations. Switzerland and Liechtenstein are domestically preparing for a similar rule change.

On and after October 10, the exporters of wild mushrooms from nine prefectures (Iwate, Miyagi, Yamagata, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Yamanashi, Nagano, Niigata, and Shizuoka) are still required to submit the certificates of radiation checks issued by the Japanese government. The exporters of wild mushrooms from other prefectures must submit the certificates of origin to prove that they are not subject to the import restrictions.

Dried persimmons from Fukushima and some wild mountain vegetables from Fukushima, Miyagi, Gunma, and three other prefectures still need the certificates of pre-export testing.

The farm ministry of Japan will “take every opportunity and continue to work” to eliminate all other import restrictions, a ministry official said.

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