Tuesday, September 20, 2011

20/09 Products from Tohoku to be used for ODA

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Foreign Ministry will establish a special quota to buy products from the disaster-hit Tohoku region for the government's official development assistance programs, according to government sources.

The plan is aimed at supporting reconstruction of the disaster-hit areas and dispelling harmful rumors about local products, the sources said.

To fund the plan, the ministry will appropriate about 5 billion yen in the third supplementary budget for fiscal 2011.

Specifically, the ministry is considering using canned mackerel and saury produced by seafood processing firms in the disaster-hit areas for food assistance programs for developing countries. The government will test the products for radioactivity to ensure their safety before sending them overseas, according to the sources.

The ministry also is considering using endoscopes, many of which are produced in Fukushima Prefecture, and wheelchairs produced in the disaster-affected areas for medical aid for developing countries.

The plan is meant not to only support reconstruction of the areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami but also to dispel harmful rumors overseas about the safety of food produced in the areas by certifying its safety, the sources said.

As part of efforts to end harmful rumors, the ministry also plans to offer samples of Japanese food in China and hold large-scale Japan exhibitions in that country to promote Japanese tourist destinations. China is a major importer of Japanese agricultural and other products.

To cover the expenses of such public relations activities overseas, the ministry will appropriate several hundred million yen in the third supplementary budget, the sources said.

The ministry plans to hold the events on such occasions as visits to China by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba.

(Sep. 20, 2011)

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