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Japan gives green light to liquid baby formula sales

This January 2016 photo shows a baby drinking liquid baby formula imported from the United States. (Photo courtesy of the baby's father), (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The production and sale of liquid baby formula were approved in Japan on Wednesday, as the government enforced new safety rules for the product seen as helpful in the event of a natural disaster.

While the liquid formula is widely used abroad due to its convenience, Japan virtually banned it due to the absence of safety standards. Powder baby formula, which must be dissolved in hot water, is commonly used instead.

The merits of liquid baby formula are that it is consumable at room temperature and is available even if there is a cut in water supplies, such as during a natural disaster.

The product came under the spotlight when a Finnish company offered it as emergency aid in 2016 to people in Japan's southwestern prefecture of Kumamoto who were affected by a powerful earthquake.

Thanks to the ease of preparation, the product is also expected to prove popular with fathers and lead to them feeding their children more often.

Following the enactment of the new rules, it is likely to take at least one year before the products are available in Japan as companies need to confirm their safety in various ways, according to the Japan Dairy Industry Association.

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