According to Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore will now lift the ban it put in place three years ago on importing food products from Fukushima in Japan, which has suffered what is now seen as one of the world’s nuclear disasters after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 caused multiple reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power facility. Lee announced this as he met with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the recently concluded Shangri-La defense and security forum.
Food exports from Fukushima, one of the disaster-hit prefecture’s main industries, has suffered due to the nuclear crisis within the area and the negative press the prefecture has gotten because of it. But due to the strong bilateral relationship between Singapore and Japan, the Singapore premier has made it a point to announce the lifting of the ban when he met up with his Japanese counterpart. In response, Abe expressed his gratitude saying this move will give Fukushima “great courage.” Among the points the two talked about was the continued progress of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, of which both countries are members of. They expressed hope that the multi-nation free trade pact would soon reach its goals and move forward.
Abe and Lee also discussed the stability issues in the ASEAN region, especially in the dispute-riddled area of the South China Sea. Abe continued to show his disagreement with the way China has continued to pursue the territorial disputes it had with several Southeast Asian nations. “Unilateral development should not take place in areas whose boundary lines are undecided,” Abe said. “Disputes should be solved in a peaceful manner,” the Japanese prime minister told Lee, another veiled comment at the recent incident between China and Vietnam. China has publicly bashed Abe and the United States for their speeches in the forum, saying in no certain terms that China has to stop its aggression in disputed territories. Japan and China themselves have a long-running territorial dispute in the East China Sea.