The G7 calls for the immediate repeal of the embargo on Japanese food, and puts pressure on China

Local staff pack a fish sample in a cold box for a team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with scientists from China, South Korea and Canada at Hisanohama Port, Thursday, October 19, 2023 in Iwaki, northeastern Japan. Eugene Hoshiko/Pool via Reuters/File photo Obtaining licensing rights

TOKYO (Reuters) – The G7 industrial group called on Sunday for the “immediate abolition” of restrictions on imports of Japanese food products, a reference to restrictions imposed by China after Japan began discharging wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. .

G7 trade ministers, in a statement after their weekend meeting in Osaka, did not mention China, but also condemned what they see as increasing economic pressures through trade.

“We deplore actions aimed at weaponizing economic dependencies and commit to building on free, fair and mutually beneficial economic and trade relations,” the 10-page statement said.

China imposed a blanket suspension of Japanese fish imports two months ago when Japan began releasing treated radioactive water from the destroyed Fukushima plant into the Pacific Ocean. While Japan and the United States described the restrictions as unfair, Russia announced similar restrictions earlier this month.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the G7 statement outside business hours.

The Group of Seven, which includes the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada, expressed “concern” about the recent control measures on the export of important minerals.

China, the world’s largest graphite producer, this month announced export restrictions on the key material used in electric car batteries, in another attempt to control supplies of the vital mineral in response to challenges to its global manufacturing dominance.

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Yasutoshi Nishimura, trade minister of host Japan, said G7 ministers “shared the need, a really strong need, to reduce dependence on a particular country” to provide vital resources. “We fully agreed to build resilient and reliable supply chains” for critical metals, semiconductors and batteries, he told a news conference.

The ministers reiterated their concerns about a “broad and evolving range of non-market policies” that include “pervasive, opaque and trade-distorting industrial subsidies” and forced technology transfer, the statement said.

Regarding Russia, G7 officials condemned the destruction of Ukrainian grain export infrastructure in its invasion of the country, and Moscow’s decision to “unilaterally” withdraw from talks on an agreement that allowed grain giant Ukraine to export wheat and other products via the Black Sea.

In contrast to the G7 finance ministers’ meeting two weeks ago, which condemned Hamas’s “terrorist attacks” on Israel, the trade ministers did not mention the Middle East crisis, saying only that they “seek to raise awareness about the challenges faced in the cross-border movement of humanitarian goods.” . International borders during natural disasters and other emergencies.

Western countries generally support what they say is Israel’s right to self-defense, but there is growing international concern about the death toll from Israeli bombing and growing calls for a temporary halt to allow aid to reach Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

Reported by Kantaro Komiya; Additional reporting by Liz Li in Beijing. Edited by William Mallard

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Kantaro writes about everything from Japanese economic indicators to North Korean missiles to global regulation of artificial intelligence companies. His previous stories have been published in The Associated Press, Bloomberg, The Japan Times, and Rest of the World. Kantaro, a native of Tokyo, graduated from DePauw University in the United States and received the Foreign Press Club Foundation’s 2020 Scholar Award.

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