Japan and China released a memorandum on Monday aimed at restoring confidence in food safety, allowing mutual on-site inspections of facilities processing food for export. The relationship between the two countries has been strained since pesticide-tainted gyoza sickened 10 in Japan in 2007.
“Signing the food safety cooperation framework agreement offers the two countries a good chance to promote cooperation in food production and trade,” Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Monday.
The agreement allows officials in both countries to inspect facilities as deemed necessary but only after obtaining consent. The document states the two countries will form an action plan to settle concerns over food safety and that they will promote the exchange of information.
Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Akira Nagatsuma and Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine chief Wang Yong signed the memorandum at Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s Office on Monday.
Hatoyama stepped down yesterday citing a broken promise to move U.S. troops off of Okinawa and campaign scandals as his reasons.