Plea to ease Asean import restrictions
- Published: 10/10/2013 at 02:48 PM
- Online news:
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday asked the leaders of China, South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to relax or eliminate import restrictions on Japanese produce, touting its safety more than two years after the onset of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
As participants reviewed cooperation in finance and food security at the "Asean-plus-three" summit, Abe also welcomed the start of an emergency rice reserve program involving the participating countries and said Japan intends to extend cooperation in the area, according to Japanese officials.
The summit, held in the Bruneian capital on the island of Borneo, brought together Abe, Premier Li Keqiang of China and President Park Geun Hye of South Korea.
During a photo session before the meeting, Abe stood next to Park, shaking hands with her in an Asean-style pose, but the two leaders did not appear to make eye contact, perhaps reflecting the current chilled ties between the two countries.
Amid concern over radiation-contaminated water leaking from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, South Korea has recently imposed an import ban on fisheries products from some Japanese prefectures.
At the meeting, Abe, who sat next to Park at a roundtable, asked other participants that their countries relax or eliminate restrictions on imported goods from Japan, saying that those in circulation are safe.
"We intend to continue provide precise information swiftly, and ask those countries that continue restrictions to loosen or eliminate such restrictions on the basis of scientific data," he said, according to the officials.
Abe also urged other participants to cooperate over the North Korean nuclear issue and the abductions of Japanese nationals by the North in the 1970s and 1980s.
With Japan enmeshed in disputes with China and South Korea over territorial issues and interpretations of history, Abe has not held bilateral talks with a Chinese or South Korean leader since he became prime minister last December.
Asean consists of Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam, with host Brunei serving as chairman of the regional grouping.
About the author
- Writer: Kyodo News
Position: News agency