ISLAMABAD  - Pakistan has cautioned to may impose ban on the import of edible items from Japan in case if traces of radioactive material are found on them.Federal Minister of Commerce Khurum Dastgeer Khan told the Senate on Thursday, currently the Ministry of National Food Security and Research is tasked to conduct thorough research to determine either the edible items from Japan were infected by radioactive rays or not. "Concerned officials have been advised to investigate the matter relating to import of edible items from Japan following the incident of radioactivity in Japan. It is up to Ministry of Food Security and Research to advise Ministry of Commerce to continue import of edible items from Japan or impose ban on it," Dastgeer told Senate in written. He was responding to question asked by Senator Suriya Amiruddin who was interested to know whether there is any proposal under consideration of the Government to impose ban on import of edible items from Japan to avoid negative effect of radiation in those items.Almost three years back in April 2011, Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority had directed authorities dealing with Cargo arriving directly or indirectly from Japan to screen all types of consignments including edible/non-edible, for radiation. The directives were issued from the country's well-reputed institution Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) following serious crisis of Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. The PNRA made clearance mandatory for every consignment being imported from Japan. It is worthy of mentioning here that country's nuclear scientists had advised the federal government three years back to halt all types of goods from Japan to minimize the threat of radiation following the Fukushima Nuclear Crisis in Japan. The scientists had advised the government after they detected high level of Iodine from the consignments imported from Japan. Although India, Pakistan's immediate neighbor, had banned imports from Japan following the Fukushima Nuclear Plant tragedy, yet keeping in view that the move to ban imports from Japan may hurt bilateral relationship between the two friendly countries, the Pakistani government never imposed ban on import of goods from Japan.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 18-Apr-2014 here.