Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-Ngor has turned down an appeal by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono for Hong Kong to lift a ban on food products from certain parts of his country, which was imposed in the wake of 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Kono made the appeal during his meeting with Lam at the end of his two-day visit to Hong Kong on Sunday. He is the first Japanese foreign minister to visit the city since its return to China in 1997.
In a statement, Lam said she told the Japanese official it is incumbent on the Hong Kong government to safeguard public health and put effective measures in place to ensure food safety.
She said the government continues to monitor the situation in Japan, particularly with regard to the ban on agricultural products from five Japanese prefectures.
As such, Lam said, the city’s Food and Health Bureau will maintain communications with Japanese authorities to review the latest situation and adopt appropriate measures regarding the import ban.
Secretary for Food and Health Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee said the city’s health authorities have been regularly testing the radioactivity levels of food imports from Japan, The Standard reported.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster was triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami that struck the country on March 11, 2011.
Soon after the disaster, the city’s Centre for Food Safety began to impose various import restrictions on Japanese food.
Currently, the importation of fruit, vegetable and milk products from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Chiba and Gunma prefectures is still prohibited.
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