Rosenthal calls on Japan to lift trade barriers

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Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal has said Japan must lift its trade barriers before a free trade agreement can be negotiated successfully with the European Union. The minister is on a two-day visit to Japan. Minister Rosenthal supports the proposed free trade agreement with Japan. However, the Netherlands and other EU countries want Japan to remove existing trade restrictions. Since the outbreak of BSE, for example, the Netherlands may not export veal to Japan.

The minister visited the region hit by an earthquake and tsunami in March. A Dutch horticulture mission will travel to Japan’s northeast before the end of the year. Dutch expertise in water management and horticulture and agriculture will be used to help restore the destroyed agricultural regions, Minister Rosenthal says.

His Japanese counterpart Koichiro Gemba announced he would make efforts to extend a Dutch-Japanese programme which makes historical research into World War II possible and stimulates meetings between former POWs and the children of Dutch or Indonesian women and Japanese soldiers. During World War II, Japan occupied what is now Indonesia, then a Dutch colony. Significant numbers of both Indonesian and Dutch women were forced to become ‘comfort women’ sex slaves for Japanese troops.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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