For the first time since the Fukushima meltdown in 2011, Bahrain has lifted the restrictions on food imports from Japan, becoming the first country in the Gulf to do so. This was announced during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the Middle Eastern country and is a result of a request made during his first visit last March to Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
Japanese products to be imported to Bahrain will not need anymore to submit inspection certificates from the government or the private sector, certifying that their products are not radioactive or contaminated from the fallout of the nuclear accident in Fukushima two years ago. Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry Press secretary Kuni Sato said Japan welcomes the news, which was made on “mutually decided terms”. She also shared that the meeting between Abe and Bahrain’s King Hamad and Prince Khalifa who also serves as Prime Minister, resulted in setting some meetings between the two countries’ defense and foreign ministers to address key issues in the political, economic, cultural and security aspects. The talks will start with two high-ranking officials discussing issues on maritime security, exchange of ideas on defense, anti-terrorism and disaster relief.
Abe and Khalifa are also pursuing a strategic ministerial dialogue between Japan and the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. On top of the agenda would be reviving talks to create a Free Trade Agreement with the GCC. The two countries are also looking at strengthening their bilateral cooperation in the fields of education, science and technology. They want to create a program wherein more students from Bahrain would go to Japan to study while Japanese experts would go over there to train and share their knowledge. They are looking at 20,000 people to participate in the exchange program in the next five years. Abe’s second visit to Bahrain also resulted in four signed agreements in the agriculture, health, financial intelligence and pharmaceuticals sectors.
[ via Gulf Daily News ]
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