China lifts post-Fukushima ban on rice from Niigata prefecture

TOKYO, Nov. 30 ― China has lifted its seven-year import ban on rice from Niigata prefecture, which was imposed in the wake of the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima.

On Nov. 28, the Chinese government announced its decision to approve rice imports from Niigata, one of Japan’s most renowned rice producers, following scientific assessment on food safety.

The move came after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his groundbreaking visit Beijing in October.

Relations between Asia’s two biggest economies have rapidly warmed up, as tensions between China and the United States have spilled over from the trade war into a number of other strategic areas.

China imposed bans on food imports from Fukushima and nine neighboring prefectures, including Niigata, in response to the meltdown at the Fukushima No.1 power station in Fukushima Prefecture in 2011. The plant is managed by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Still, China has maintained bans in importing rice from other regions as well as other agricultural products such as vegetables, dairy products and tea leaves from Japan.

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