24 Jun 2019 11:42

Japan may lift ban on imports of chicken from Russia - newspaper

TOKYO. June 24 (Interfax) - Japan is considering lifting its ban on imports of certain kinds of chicken meat from Russia, The Mainichi reported, citing government sources.

Japanese Prime Minister and Sinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to discuss this issue during the G20 summit this week, according to the article.

"Since 2005, Japan has been banning imports of raw chicken meat from Russia due to concerns about bird flu. According to the sources, Tokyo would lift the ban only for certain parts of the country proven to have a low risk of carrying the disease," it reads.

"In May, Japan's agriculture ministry asked an expert panel to discuss whether Tokyo should lift the ban, which would likely happen in 2020 at the earliest," the article reads.

"The issue is part of a broader discussion on expanding trade in meat between the two countries. The government's top spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, told a press conference the same day the two countries were working on 'a number of issues,' but declined to comment on whether Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin would reach any sort of agreement at their meeting in Osaka on Saturday," it reads.

"According to the farm [agricultural] ministry, Japan imported roughly 550,000 tons of chicken meat in the year through March, with some 70 percent coming from Brazil and 20 percent from Thailand," the article reads.

Russian experts say that the ban is largely a formality, since Russian chicken was not being delivered to Japan even before 2005.