Food from Fukushima will be available for free in the UK from Wednesday, weeks after Boris Johnson munched on popcorn from the Japanese prefecture hit by a triple nuclear meltdown in March 2011.
Britain restricted imports from Fukushima after the disaster, the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, but has gradually lifted them, even as other countries limit or ban products from the region.
Johnson confirmed that the remaining restrictions would end on Wednesday during a meeting the day before with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Germany.
Johnson told Kishida that relations between the UK and Japan were “getting better and better”.
“Two great island democracies, united in our values, determined to stand together against autocracies and the dangers of global drift, but also eager to do more together on technology, security, trade, and more sure I’m delighted that tomorrow – finally – we’ll be able to have genuine Fukushima products in every store in the UK,” he said.
Supermarket chains Tesco and Waitrose said they had no immediate plans to sell Fukushima products. Instead, many items will be available at Japanese restaurants and specialty Japanese stores in England, Scotland and Wales.
Restrictions will remain in place in Northern Ireland, which is subject to European Union food and drink rules from Fukushima and other prefectures affected by the crash 11 years ago.
The removal of the restrictions was made possible after the UK Food Standards Agency lowered a limit of 100 becquerels – a measure of radioactivity – per kilogram contained in Japanese food.
“Our risk assessment shows that removing the maximum radiocaesium level of 100 becquerels per kilogram (Bq/kg) for food imported from Japan to the UK would result in a negligible increase in dose and any associated risk to UK consumers. “, said the FSA in a report at the end of last year.
The Fukushima prefectural government says that after the disaster, its food safety standards are among the strictest in the world. The upper limit set by the government for radioactive cesium in ordinary foodstuffs, such as meat and vegetables, is 100 becquerels per kilogram, compared to 1,250 Bq/kg in the EU and 1,200 Bq/kg in the states. -United.
The lifting of restrictions will affect 23 food items, such as mushrooms, which previously had to bear proof that they had been tested for radioactive material, according to Nikkei Asia.
The Japanese government said it “welcomes that the UK government has made this decision based on scientific evidence, as it will support the reconstruction of the affected areas”.
He added that he would “continue to work towards the rapid lifting of remaining import restrictions in the EU and other countries and regions”. China, Russia, South Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan and several other countries still impose import restrictions.
Johnson first tasted Fukushima produce in 2017 when, as foreign minister, he swallowed a can of peach juice given to him by his Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, declaring it “Yum”.