Rosenthal calls on Japan to lift trade obstacles

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Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal has said Japan has to lift trade obstacles 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 idea of having a free trade agreement with Japan. However, the Netherlands and other EU countries want Japan to remove current trade obstacles. For instance since the outbreak of BSE, the Netherlands cannot 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 on 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 do work on an extending 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 the Indonesia, a Dutch colony at the time. Both Indonesian and Dutch women were forced to become ‘comfort women’ for the Japanese troops.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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