Japanese Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga told his Chinese counterpart yesterday the two countries must cooperate in finding the cause of pesticide contamination in China-made dumplings that sickened at least 10 people in Japan.
Nukaga told Chinese Finance Minister Xie Xuren (
The talks were the first ministry- level contact between the two countries since the dumpling contamination surfaced at the end of last month.
Nukaga called the incident "unfortunate."
"I said our relations are rapidly improving and that we should not let the incident interfere with our friendship," Nukaga told reporters.
Nukaga also said he and Xie agreed "to pave the way for a successful Japan visit" by Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) planned for late next month or early April.
China and Japan have sent teams of investigators back and forth in the last week to determine the cause of the contamination, which some Japanese officials suspect may have been deliberate.
A senior Chinese food safety official said last week the contamination might have been an act of sabotage by extremists opposed to improved relations.
Japanese police launched an attempted murder investigation.
The dumpling contamination triggered a nationwide scare in Japan. Authorities ordered the recall of all products made by China's Tianyang Food Processing Ltd (
Traces of methamidophos, an insecticide banned in Japan, were found in the dumplings, on the packaging and in the vomit of the 10 people who were sickened after eating two separate brands of Tianyang dumplings.
China's product safety agency conducted tests on the ingredients of Tianyang dumplings from the same batch sent to Japan, but said it found none of the insecticide cited by Japanese authorities.
Japanese officials last week detected a second insecticide, dichlorvos, in Tianyang dumplings and their packaging.
That contamination has not been linked to illness.
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