Japan plans to call on Beijing to jointly set up a food safety council following a massive recall of Chinese-made food after hundreds of Japanese said they fell ill from dumplings, a report said Saturday.
Tokyo hopes to agree to form the consultation council when China's President Hu Jintao visits later this year for a summit with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, the Mainichi Shimbun reported.
AdvertisementUnder the plan, the council will be formed by health, welfare and quarantine officials from both governments, the newspaper said.
It will discuss measures to prevent food poisoning and strengthen quarantine inspections, while carrying out a joint programme to train inspectors, it said.
The proposal would be part of a joint effort to avoid deteriorating Japan-China ties, which have often soured mainly due to the gap over their wartime memories, Mainichi said.
Major foodmakers have ordered recalls of frozen and prepared foods that were suspected of being produced at the same Chinese factory in Hebei province that is at the centre of the safety crisis, officials at the companies said.
China -- Japan's largest trading partner and second biggest supplier of imported food -- has said it found no pesticide in the dumplings, as Tokyo claims, but pledged an investigation.
China's soaring economic growth is tied to the strength of its giant manufacturing sector, which has made it the world's factory.
But the country's image has been hit by increasingly frequent reports of dangerous food or other products being sold overseas, ranging from tyres to toothpaste.
Although officials from the Japanese importers continued to inspect the factory in Hebei Saturday, they said they were still unsure what caused the contamination.
Police said they were investigating a report of a three-millimetre tear in a pack of 20 dumplings that made a Japanese family ill, opening up the possibility of deliberate tampering.
The scare in Japan started when Japan Tobacco Foods, part of the nation's giant cigarette maker, announced on Wednesday that insecticide was found in its imported Chinese meat dumplings.