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Japanese lawmakers visit Taiwan to discuss food safety issues

Japanese lawmakers visit Taiwan to discuss food safety issues

Taipei, April 30 (CNA) A group of Japanese lawmakers is visiting Taiwan to discuss relations between the two countries, including matters related to the safety of Japanese food exports to Taiwan, a Taiwanese official said Thursday. The lawmakers, who arrived a day earlier on a four-day visit, have met with the mayors of Taichung, Kaohsiung and Tainan to promote city-to-city exchanges with Japan, said Lo Koon-tsan (???), secretary-general of the Association of East Asian Relations, which handles ties with Japan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties, at a news briefing. During the meeting with Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (??), the delegation expressed hope that Taiwan will rethink its regulations pertaining to Japanese food imports and that more scientific data can be provided, a source said. Led by Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Nobuo Kishi, the brother of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the delegation is also scheduled to meet with President Ma Ying-jeou (???), Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (???), Foreign Minister David Lin (???) and former President Lee Teng-hui (???), said Lo. The delegation will also call on Lee Chia-chin (???), chairman of the Association of East Asian Relations, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (???) and executives of the ruling Kuomintang and main opposition Democratic Progressive Party, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In response to reporters' questions, Lo said that the discussions during those meetings are expected to touch on a decision by the Ministry of Health and Welfare to tighten regulations relating to Japanese food imports after it was found that food items from the radiation-affected prefectures of Gunma, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, and Chiba had made their way illegally into Taiwan last month. "We will communicate with them on the issue," he said. Noting that it is the Ministry of Health and Welfare that is responsible for food regulations, Lo said the foreign ministry will pass on information presented by the Japanese lawmakers to the relevant health authorities. The new measures, requested by the Legislature, will take effect May 15, requiring that the specific places of origin, rather than just the country of origin, be listed on Japanese food products. For some products, a radiation inspection certificate will also be required. Japan has voiced displeasure over the decision and sent the group of lawmakers to try to resolve the issue. The five prefectures in question are close to the Fukushima area, where a nuclear disaster occurred in 2011 as a result of a massive earthquake and tsunami. In addition to Kishi's delegation, Japanese lawmaker and former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is leading another group of Japanese legislators on a visit to Taiwan. His group arrived earlier Thursday for a four-day visit, the ministry said. (By Elaine Hou and Wang Shwu-fen)


Updated : 2021-09-23 02:36 GMT+08:00