July 23, 2009

Japan mulls pork imports from South Korean island

The Japanese government on Wednesday (July 22) said it is considering whether to continue pork imports from the South Korean island of Cheju which were suspended since November 2004 due to a hog cholera outbreak.


A subcommittee of the Council of Food, Agriculture and Rural Area Policies will hold a meeting on July 24 to discuss the matter, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said.


Tokyo is expected to remove the Cheju ban this year if expert panels find pork from that island is safe and after an agreement is reached with the South Korean government on quarantine requirements.


South Korea asked Japan to resume Cheju pork imports in 2005 after taking measures to prevent the fatal swine disease. Since late last year, Japan has been investigating the South Korean situation, including the country's quarantine system.


The resumption of pork exports to Japan would benefit Cheju pig farmers, who are concerned their business will be hurt when a free trade agreement with the European Union takes effect.

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