plate-radiationvia South China Morning Post / June 21, 2015 / A Japanese farm ministry official met a senior Chinese official in charge of food inspection on Friday to request the easing of restrictions on food imports introduced after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, sources said.

A director general at the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries used the meeting in Beijing to stress the safety of Japanese food, the sources said.

China banned imports of food produced in 10 prefectures in Japan including Miyagi, Nagano and Fukushima following the nuclear crisis.

The beginning of such talks reflects an improvement in relations between the two biggest Asian economies.

Ties had deteriorated after the Japanese government bought a major part of the Japanese-administered Diaoyu Islands – known as Senkaku in Japan – in the East China Sea, from a private Japanese owner in 2012. The islands are claimed by China.

Both countries’ leaders have met twice since November, indicating a thaw in their tense relations.

The sale and use of Japanese food products has dropped sharply at department stores, supermarkets and restaurants in China since the import ban went into effect.

But potential demand remains strong for such products.

The two countries are expected to set up another meeting of higher-ranking officials.

In another development, Beijing is set to hold a press conference on the arrangements for a grand military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of second world war, another grievance between the two nations.

Qu Rui, deputy director of the Military Parade Leading Group, is scheduled to attend the press conference.

The parade, to be held in September, is seen as an attempt by Beijing to exert pressure on Japan over wartime disputes.

But Beijing has said the parade is not targeted at any particular country.

China has said it will invite leaders of other nations to attend the parade.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to be a guest, but it is not known if Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be invited.

SOURCE: South China Morning Post

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