China and South Korea have pledged to offer support for Japan in the island country's steep road to recovery following the March 11 twin disasters.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan made the announcement at an annual summit meeting between leaders of the three countries. Also on hand were Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Lee Myung-bak, president of South Korea. The three leaders met in Fukushima, center of the controversy over Japan's nuclear policies and provisions in the wake of the meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant.
In a gesture designed to reinstill confidence in the safety of food grown in the region, the three leaders sampled locally grown produce and pronounced it tasty and safe. Many people within Japan and elsewhere are still wary of the quality of food and water in the region, in the northeast part of Honshu, the main island, after the meltdown released radiation into the surrounding land and water. The tasting took place at a temporary shelter populated by several hundred people still without a place to live, their homes either destroyed or off-limits. China confirmed that it would begin removing restrictions on food imports from Japan.
The three leaders agreed to mutual pledges of support and security and promised to pursue a free trade pact for the region. The leaders also shared a solemn moment of remembrance for the nearly 25,000 people listed as dead or still missing after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake spawned a massive tsunami that wiped whole towns off the map.
The Japanese government also announced a plan that would require builders to outfit all new buildings with solar panels by 2030. The plan was to be announced at the G8 Summit, taking place later this week in France.