Secretary of Agriculture Emmanuel Piñol has signed an order lifting the seven-year importation ban of several fish species from Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.

Soon, fish from Fukushima such as the cherry salmon, sand lance, Japanese dace, and ayu will enter the Philippine market after a seven-year exile. The lifting of the ban was done as a gesture of goodwill during President Rodrigo Duterte’s heavily publicized visit to Japan this week. Following Piñol’s signing, the ban will be presented to Japanese Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Yoshikawa Takamori on an unspecified date.

The ban was first imposed in 2011 following the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster, which was triggered by the Tōhoku earthquake. The incident caused nuclear matter to leak in the area, causing many governments to post strict import bans on any products from that region.

According to Piñol, he considers the ban “as just a bureaucratic gobbledygook and an overreaction to an issue, which did not really affect the Philippines.”

This act of goodwill coincides with the Department of Agriculture’s efforts to promote the entry of more Philippine agriculture products to Japan, such as seeking to lower tariffs for Philippine bananas and pineapples and to introduce the local hash avocado to the Japanese market.

Just last year, the Japanese government implored the Philippines to lift their ban as sufficient time had passed since the Daiichi incident.

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