Japan claims finding ‘tainted’ Thai rice
Tokyo (dpa) – The Japanese government plans to return imported rice to Thailand and other exporting nations if it is found to be inedible, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Seiichi Ota said Friday.
Japan’s decision followed recent cases in which a Japanese company sold rice imported from Thailand, Vietnam and China which the government now claims was tainted with mould or contained pesticide beyond a legal limit for edible use.
Mr Ota’s statement on Friday contained no details about the allegedly bad-quality Thai rice.
The firm bought the rice from the Japanese government for industrial use but sold it to make sake rice wine, distilled liquor or sweets.
The farm ministry’s decision Friday banned trading in tainted rice.
Japan imports the minimum amount of rice required by the World Trade Organisation.
The farm ministry had been selling about 2,000 tons annually of rice tainted with mould, damaged during shipment or with high levels of pesticide but only for nonedible industrial use, such as making glue or for animal feed.