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Japan expects EU to lift food import restrictions, official says

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Japan expects the European Union to announce it is lifting import restrictions on Japanese food products imposed in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, according to Bloomberg.

Ending the restrictions would show goodwill from the EU and would be a big boost for people in the area of the 2011 disaster, government spokeswoman Hikariko Ono told reporters in Brussels.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida started a meeting in Brussels on Thursday with Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, and Charles Michel, head of the European Council. The lifting of restrictions may be announced after the gathering, Ono said.

Tokyo has been calling on the EU to end the curbs, which according to the Yomiuri newspaper require radiation certification for food from 10 prefectures and certificates of origin for other areas.

A spokesperson for the commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While food exports from Japan to the EU are minimal, the step would have symbolic value, coming as Hong Kong prepares to ban imports of aquatic products over Japan’s plan to release treated waste water from the wrecked nuclear plant into the ocean starting some time this summer.