Monday, April 11, 2011

India's Ban on Japanese Food Imports

India's food imports from Japan have been relatively insignificant. But on 5 April 2011,  India became the first country to suspended all Japanese food imports. This ban was to be reviewed after three months but within two days of announcement, the government did a U-turn and reversed the decision. What explains this unseemly hurry to impose a meaningless ban, and then to revoke it?

By all accounts, this seems to yet another case of the right hand not knowing that the left hand is up to, within the government of India. The ban seems to have been declared by the Ministry of Health after receiving inputs from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Board of Radiation & Isotope Technology, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research.

Since the Ministry of Trade had not been consulted, it promptly issued a notice rejecting the Health Ministry order. It insisted - perhaps quite rightly - that a blanket ban was unwarranted and that it would merely ask for some extra paperwork (radiation-free certification) from the importers.

At the end of the day, it is the government of India that stood exposed for the incompetence of its senior bureaucrats.


India bans food import from Japan for 3 months (The Hindu, 6 APr., 2011).

India Ban on Food Imports from Japan - Economist -

India Bans Japan Food Imports (Reuters, 5 Apr 2011) -

India U-turn on Japan food import ban

India does a U-Turn (Sky News, 8 April 2011). 

Shikata,Takagi,Takashima & Karaki, "Japanese Food Safety Concern: Fact and Fiction" (FCCJ, 11 May 2011)

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