Jakarta (ANTARA) - Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas has left for Japan on a mission to strengthen halal product cooperation and exports between the two countries.

According to a statement released here on Tuesday, the minister is expected to meet several stakeholders to explore the potential of exporting Indonesian-made halal products to the East Asian country.

He said that Indonesia is seeking reciprocity in the export of halal products since Japan is exporting its halal products to Indonesia.

"(The current visit) concerns how our halal products can freely enter Japan. I believe this is an important step, primarily to facilitate our MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises) to expand further to the global market," Qoumas explained.

He said he is also expecting to review the assessment process at two Japanese halal assessor agencies, namely Japan Islamic Trust (JIT) and Japan Muslim Association (JMA).

The review is meant to ensure that imported halal products certified by the agencies meet Indonesian regulations.

"We will conduct an assessment there. (We will see) whether their practice complies with the regulatory standard in Indonesia to allow their products to be imported to Indonesia," Qoumas said.

Earlier, the authorities of South Korea's Chungcheongbuk-do province explored opportunities for cooperation with the Halal Product Assurance Agency (BPJPH) of the Religious Affairs Ministry.

During a meeting with BPJPH head Aqil Irham, Chungcheongbuk-do Governor Kim Young Hwan said that his province is keen to market halal-certified cosmetics, one of Chungcheongbuk-do's flagship products.

Irham welcomed the cooperation offered by Governor Kim.

However, he also called for the need for government-to-government (G-to-G) cooperation between the two countries that would serve as a legal foundation for the recognition of halal certifications of both countries.

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Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati
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