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2. The Session was opened by Mr Jungoro Kondo, Vice-Minister for Health, Labour and Welfare, who welcomed the participants to Makuhari, Chiba, Japan. Mr Kondo mentioned that the food safety and consumer health were a most serious interest in recent years and the safety of foods derived from modern biotechnology attracted most serious public concerns both in importing and exporting countries and thus it was strongly expected that a worldwide consensus in this area be reached as quickly as possible. Mr Ezzeddine Boutrif, Officer-in-Charge, Food Quality and Standards Service, FAO and Dr Jørgen Schlundt, Cordinator, Programme of Food Safety, WHO, gave welcome addresses on behalf of FAO and WHO, respectively. Both representatives expressed their sincere gratitude toward the Government of Japan for its hospitality and wished a successful meeting. It was stressed that FAO and WHO would provide continuous support to the work of the Task Force particularly by providing scientific advice on pertinent issues. In this regard it was mentioned that two Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultations had been organized in 2000 and 2001 and their outcome would be expected to be incorporated in the work of the Task Force. Both speakers urged the Task Force to make efforts to advance the finalization of the texts on its Agenda to respond to the pressing demand for these texts.

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