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INTERNATIONAL > East Asia & Pacific

U.S., EU, 9 others back Japan over WTO ruling on S. Korean ban

Tokyo, May 16 (Jiji Press) — The United States, the European Union and nine other World Trade Organization members have supported Japan’s claims over a final WTO ruling in favor of Seoul’s import ban on fishery products from parts of Japan, it was learned Thursday.

The 11 members showed their support for Japan’s calls for the lifting of the ban at a WTO meeting in late April to adopt a report on the ruling compiled by the global trade watchdog’s Appellate Body, a senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official said at a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on the day.

The Appellate Body on April 11 made the ruling tolerating the South Korean embargo on fishery products from Fukushima and seven other prefectures in eastern Japan, reversing an earlier verdict by a lower body against the import ban.

Representatives from 12 member economies spoke at the WTO meeting, and 11 of them backed Japan while none supported South Korea.

The EU representative showed understanding for Japan’s disappointment and said that there are faults in the WTO’s dispute settlement system, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

South Korea introduced the ban after the March 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s <9501> disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

At the LDP meeting, officials of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry and the Foreign Ministry presented plans to strengthen activities to get the ban lifted, support sea squirt farmers hit by the embargo and redouble efforts to eliminate radiation-related harmful rumors about foods from Fukushima and other areas.

“We should consider countermeasures on imports from South Korea,” former Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Ken Saito, a member of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, said at the meeting.

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