Wen Jiabao tours Japan disaster area

21-05-2011

Farmers in Fukushima prefecture offer the three leaders tomatoes. Photo: Reuters
Premier Wen Jiabao has toured areas of Japan that were devastated by the huge earthquake and tsunami in March. Ahead of a three-way summit, Mr Wen joined Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak at an evacuation shelter some 60 kilometres away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which suffered severe damage in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

China and South Korea have been critical of Japan's response to the nuclear crisis, particularly about the release of radiation into the ocean and the monitoring of food exports for contamination. Japan hopes the visit by the two leaders will help ease concerns.

In a nod to local farmers, the three leaders sampled cherries, tomatoes, strawberries and cucumbers grown in Fukushima. "It was my decision to come to Fukushima," Premier Wen Jiabao said. "I come here on behalf of all the Chinese people." He suggested that import restrictions may be loosened if safety is ensured, Japanese media reported.

The leaders will hold talks in Tokyo tomorrow, where nuclear safety, cooperation in disaster preparedness, and food safety are expected to top the agenda, along with trade issues.


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