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Minister Šinko and Japanese Minister on intensified cooperation

Ms Irena Šinko, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food (MAFF), met with the Japanese Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr Tetsuro Nomura. During her visit to Japan, the Minister held several meetings with representatives of different institutions, taking also a field tour of several show cases of good practices in agriculture and in fisheries.

In discussion, the Ministers Šinko and Nomura touched on bilateral cooperation in agriculture, expressing expectations of strengthening the relations in the time to come. They especially pointed out the Memorandum on sustainable development in agriculture, forestry and food systems, signed by Slovenia and Japan last year at the Agra International Fair of Agriculture and Food at Gornja Radgona, Slovenia, which increased the possibilities of cooperation. In this context, Minister Šinko expressed the wish for more comprehensive cooperation in the field of research, between the research institutes of the two countries, and in the field of food-processing industries.

Discussion involved inter alia the procedures of granting authorisations for exports of poultry meat from Slovenia to Japan. The Ministers reiterated that, concerning this issue, the two parties would implement the required administrative procedures within reasonable time, as promptly as possible. As regards the exports of animals and foodstuffs of animal origin, Slovenia has already been approved for exports of the meat and meat products of porcine animals to Japan. The Ministers addressed also the exports of Japanese food products into the European Union (EU), and the EU import restrictions on Japanese food products due to content of radioactive substances. Concerning Fukushima, there applies Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/1533 of 17 September 2021 imposing special conditions governing the import of feed and food originating in or dispatched from Japan following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power station and repealing Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/6. Deadline for review of this Regulation is by the end of June 2023 and discussion of the possible extension of application of the Regulation is envisaged at the level of the EU.

Minister Šinko, a delegation of the CCIS-CAFE (Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (CCIS) – Chamber of Agricultural and Food Enterprises (CAFE)), and of the Biotechnical Faculty of the Ljubljana University, visited the advanced horticultural and agricultural research centre of the Meiji University. The research centre was set up within a special project to popularise and disseminate “plant factories”. These can improve productivity in crop production and secure stable food supply by serving as Research & Development Centres, by promotion of technology, and by development of human resources. They took a tour of the Kurokawa Field Science Centre, the concept behind which is to create a facility (a farm) that is in harmony with the environment, nature and surrounding community. The farm makes it possible for students to engage in year-round practical study and is designed to make maximum use of natural resources, using the cutting-edge technologies.

The governmental-economic delegation visited also a wholesale fish market with the operation of auctions of tuna fish and seafood, among other things.

Minister Šinko visited the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Centre in the Fukushima Prefecture, which is a new foothold for the promotion of agriculture and serves as a hub for the spread of technological development and safe agricultural practices, being an important facility for agricultural education. The Centre conducts also the extraordinary monitoring of radiation of agricultural, forest and fishery products. The principal target is to monitor the safety of agricultural products in the Fukushima Prefecture, and to provide accurate information to consumers.

The Minister further attended a reception for the Japanese importers of Slovenian food products and representatives of Slovenian food businesses. In her opening address to participants, the Minister pointed out that many opportunities were open for establishing a sound framework and more fruitful economic cooperation. “Cooperation of Japan in the last year’s AGRA Fair in Slovenia, and this current cooperation of Slovenia in the Foodex Japan 2023 show are opening the doors to economic operators and to an increase in mutual trade exchange. I wish you a multitude of new opportunities, which will open, many ambitious decisions, and successful cooperation in mutual trade exchange in agricultural food products,” pointed out the Minister. By the end of her visit to Japan, the Minister will visit the Research Centre of the Institute of Enology and Viticulture of the Yamanashi University.

Visit of the Slovenian governmental-economic delegation to Japan is taking place within the 48th FOODEX Japan 2023 international food and beverages show, where 11 Slovenian companies, or their representatives, are presenting themselves. The visit is organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food (MAFF), the CCIS-CAFE (Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (CCIS) – Chamber of Agricultural and Food Enterprises (CAFE)), the SPIRIT Slovenija Public Agency, and the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Tokyo. Delegation under the leadership of the Minister Ms Irena Šinko is composed of more than 20 representatives of Slovenian companies involved in the production and processing of agricultural and food products, of the MAFF, and of the CCIS-CAFE.