Japan Agriculture Minister meets Chinese aides on rice exports

TOKYO, July 22 — Japan’s Agriculture Minister Yuji Yamamoto discussed with key Chinese officials access to more Japanese rice in the world’s largest rice market, when he made a 3-day visit to China that ended July 21.

Yamamoto met China’s Agriculture Vice Minister Yu Xinrong and Zhi Shuping, the head of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), who is in charge of food safety and animal and plant health in China.

Yamamoto asked the Chinese officials to approve new more mills and facilities certified to ship to China. So far, Japan has only one rice mill and two warehouses approved by China.

He also asked the officials if China could ease import restrictions that Beijing has imposed on fish and agriculture food products from 10 Japanese prefectures as a result of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in 2011.

Following the meeting, Yamamoto told reporters that Japan wants to set up a framework at ministerial level for discussions on agriculture on at least a year. So far, there is one at senior official level on a regular basis.

Tokyo has been unable to export almost all of its agriculture food products to China, due to food safety and animal and plant health regulations mandated by Beijing.

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