Food producers in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture – where a nuclear power plant suffered a triple meltdown in 2011 – can once again sell their products to consumers in the United Kingdom.
The resumption of exports to the UK followed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit to Japan last month, during which he was photographed snacking on popcorn from Fukushima.
The UK lifted the last of its restrictions on Wednesday, after declaring food produced around the site of the meltdown-the world’s most serious nuclear accident since 1986’s Chernobyl disaster-safe to eat.
Several other nations, however, still prohibit imports from the prefecture over concerns it may still be impacted by the disaster.
Johnson announced the ending of the UK’s restrictions after talking to Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during the G7 summit in Germany on Tuesday.
The Guardian newspaper said Johnson also told his counterpart that UK-Japan relations were going from “strength to strength”.
He also said the “two great island democracies” were “united in our values, determined to stand up together against autocracies and the dangers of drifting backwards in the world”.
While saying the countries will work together in the areas of technology, security, and trade, he said he was also “delighted” to lift the last of the UK’s Fukushima restrictions.
Downing Street added in a news release that the two leaders also agreed to champion “the rule of law and sovereignty everywhere in the world” and agreed “to continue to work to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific”.
Downing Street said the leaders also vowed to continue to work on developing the next generation of fighter aircraft, and increase military cooperation that could see more troop exchanges.
The end of the restrictions on imports from Fukushima followed the UK Food Standards Agency adjusting its limit on the level of tolerable radiation in food. Previously, the bar had been set at 100 becquerels per kilogram but the UK said it would relax its measure to something more in line with the 1,250Bq/kg limit in the European Union and the 1,200Bq/kg limit in the United States.
The agency, which is known as the FSA, said in a recent report that its risk assessment suggested the removal of the 100Bq/kg limit would “result in a negligible increase in dose and any associated risk to UK consumers”.
Tokyo said it welcomed the decision, which it said London reached “based on scientific evidence”, because it will “support the reconstruction of the affected areas”.
Tokyo also said it will continue to work for the lifting of import restrictions “in the EU and other countries and regions”.
Nations that continue to have bans in place on imports of food from the Fukushima prefecture include China, Indonesia, Russia, and South Korea.