TOKYO, May 10 —Japan will have two new rice mills and five more fumigation warehouses certified for exports to China, a key step to access more Japanese rice in the world’s largest rice market, the two governments have agreed.
This is significant because Japan so far has only one rice mill and two fumigation warehouses approved by China.
In 2017, Japan exported 11,800 tons of rice, of which only 298 tons shipped to China.
Experts say that the Japanese rice exports may be linked to political moves related to Tokyo and Beijing turning a new page for more constructive bilateral ties in the near future.
Japan and China signed a memorandum on enhancing trade cooperation, when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made a 3-day visit to Japan that ended May 11.
Tokyo and Beijing also agreed to set up a task force to discuss easing a ban on Japanese food imports imposed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant accident.
China is the No.4 export market for Japanese seafood and agriculture products, after Hong Kong, the United States and Taiwan.
Yet, the ban has remained in place on all the food imports from 10 prefectures affected by the accident. They are Fukushima, Tokyo, Niigata, Nagano, Miyagi, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama and Chiba.
Beijing also hasn’t resumed the importing of vegetables and fruits from other prefectures.
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.