Tokyo's imports plea to China and South Korea

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Japan has asked South Korea and China to adopt a more "reasonable" policy on importing goods in the wake of last month's earthquake disaster and amid concerns about irradiated Japanese produce because of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The Japanese trade minister, Banri Kaieda, made the request at a summit meeting in Tokyo yesterday with his counterparts from the two countries. "I asked China and South Korea to make sure there is a scientific basis for restrictions on our imports," Mr Kaieda said. "South Korea's response was that they have to place importance on peoples' safety. China also stressed the importance of food products."

In the summit, both South Korea and China also expressed their hopes that Japan's supply chain would recover swiftly. The country's production of parts that are used by manufacturers around the world has suffered major disruptions, with car and technology industries particularly affected.

Japan's economy continues to suffer following the tragedy. The government estimates the repair bill will exceed £180bn. With the natural disaster causing radiation to leak from the Fukushima nuclear plant, a number of countries have introduced restrictions on imports.