The European Union is poised to lift its remaining import restrictions on Japanese food products imposed in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, a diplomatic source said Thursday.
An announcement is expected possibly at the end of July, paving the way for the removal of a requirement for radiation test certificates for seafood and mushrooms from 10 prefectures, including Fukushima.
Japanese farm minister Tetsuro Nomura said Friday in Tokyo that he is "aware that there are positive moves" on the issue and will meet with EU Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski next Monday.
Nomura is expected to reiterate Japan's call for the measures to be dropped.
The EU has apparently decided that the restrictions are no longer necessary based on radiation monitoring. The issue is also likely to be discussed when Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida travels to Brussels in July for a Japan-EU summit.
Import restrictions on Japanese food remain in countries such as South Korea and China, which have also expressed concerns over Japan's plan to release treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex into the sea as part of the site's ongoing cleanup efforts.
A spokesperson for the European Commission, while declining to officially confirm the EU's potential removal of import restrictions on Japanese food products, said food safety has been "a crucial priority" for the 27-nation bloc and is the reason why the "special conditions" were imposed after the Fukushima accident.
She also told Kyodo News, "The EU measures are discussed on a regular basis and, if necessary, amended to consider recent developments and new scientific data."
The EU was one among many economies around the world that placed restrictions on imports of Japanese food amid fears of potential radiation contamination in the wake of the Fukushima accident, the world's worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl crisis.
The number of countries and regions with such restrictions increased to 55 at one point, but many have since moved to eliminate the measures.
The United States lifted all of its post-Fukushima restrictions on imports of food products from Japan in September 2021. The EU has been progressively relaxing the restrictions, including elimination of a requirement for certificates of origin for cultivated mushrooms in October 2021.