News Article

Japan bill passed promoting agricultural exports

The Japanese government passed a bill to encourage the country’s agricultural exports by setting up a single agency to manage agricultural export procedures and talks with trading partners on lifting import restrictions.

Under the new law, the agency will handle the tasks that have been processed by various government ministries and agencies in the past, as Japan aims to reduce processing times for exports.

The agency, to be formed within the Farm Ministry and chaired by the Farm Minister, will oversee food safety inspections and hold talks to remove import restrictions imposed on some farm products by other countries following the nuclear crisis in Fukushima.

Earlier this month, the European Union said it would, likely by the end of this year, relax its limits on Japanese food imports levied after the 2011 crisis.

Individual board leaders include the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Health.

The agency would create a road map to keep track of its export facilitation success by building more beef processing facilities compliant with U.S. and European import requirements.

Examinations were conducted based on international food safety management standards certified under the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system by the health ministry and prefectural governments.

But if they meet specific criteria, the new law will allow private organizations to carry out food safety inspections.

A new provision will also be introduced to allow ministers and prefectural governors to grant export credentials that other countries require, such as safety certificates and proof of origin.

Japan’s agricultural exports were estimated at 906.8 billion yen ($8.35 billion) in 2018, with Hong Kong becoming Japan’s biggest buyer of farm produce, led by China and the United States. Japan is planning to boost exports this year to 1 trillion yen.

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