The Philippines has lifted a seven-year-old ban on the importation of several fish species from the Fukushima Prefecture as a gesture of goodwill during the recent visit of President Rodrigo Duterte and members of his Cabinet to Japan.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the order lifting the import ban, which he signed on May 27, was officially presented to Japanese Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Yoshikawa Takamori.
The lifting of the ban that covered fish species such as the Cherry Salmon, Sand Lance, Japanese Dace, and Ayu from Fukushima ended a seven-year issue that strained the agriculture and fisheries trade between Philippines and Japan, Piñol noted.
“The lifting of the ban ended a seven-year issue that strained the agriculture and fisheries trade between Philippines and Japan.”
On January 16, 2012, then Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) director Asis Perez issued Memorandum Order No. 001-A, that banned the importation of these fish species from the Prefecture of Fukushima following the nuclear crisis in Japan at that time.
“I consider the ban, issued by the previous administration, as just a bureaucratic goobbledygook and an overreaction to an issue, which did not really affect the Philippines. It was a ridiculous bureaucratic exercise for the simple reason the fish species included in the ban are not imported by the Philippines anyway,” the agriculture chief said.
“It was a ridiculous bureaucratic exercise.”
With the lifting of the importation ban, the agriculture head said the Duterte administration is “showing goodwill” to the Japanese government as it also moves to promote the entry of more Philippine agriculture products to Japan.
Meanwhile, the Philippines is also seeking a lower tariff for bananas and pineapples, and is seeking the entry of hash avocado into the Japanese market.