Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Japan urges Taiwan to cancel planned rules on food imports

Japan urges Taiwan to cancel planned rules on food imports

Taipei, May 1 (CNA) Several visiting Japanese lawmakers urged the Taiwanese government Friday to cancel its plans to tighten regulations on Japanese food imports, calling it a "surprise" move. "On the issue of food safety, we've learned that Taiwan will implement measures aimed at tightening regulations pertaining to Japanese food imports, and we have expressed our concerns to Taiwanese authorities," Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker Nobuo Kishi said through an interpreter at a news conference in Taipei. "We hope they will cancel the planned regulations," said Kishi, the brother of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He is leading one of the two delegations of Japanese lawmakers visiting Taiwan. Taiwan decided to impose the new regulations in the wake of a March incident in which 283 food items were sneaked into Taiwan from Japanese areas contaminated by radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. Kishi expressed regret over the incident. But noting that the tests on the products showed no traces of radioactive substances, he said "we don't understand why Taiwan still decided to strengthen regulations on Japanese food imports in this case." He criticized the decision as lacking a scientific basis. During a meeting with President Ma Ying-jeou (???) earlier in the day, Kishi said his delegation brought up the issue and that Ma promised to step up communication with related government agencies to deal with the matter. Taiwan's Ministry of Health and Welfare moved to tighten regulations related 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. 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. After meeting with the Japanese delegation also on Friday, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (???) told the media that he will call a meeting between government agencies and legislative caucuses of the different parties to discuss the matter next week. Asked about Japan's next move if Taiwan implements the new regulations as scheduled, Kishi said Japan will wait to see the results of next week's meeting. "It's not appropriate to make a comment now," he said. Tsukasa Akimoto, another Japanese lawmaker of the LDP on the delegation, said they have made the Japanese stance clear to the Taiwan side. Describing the new regulations on Japanese food imports as "a surprise" move, Akimoto said that both sides should step up bilateral communication on the matter and that Japan is willing to provide any necessary information and related data to Taiwanese authorities. Taiwan and Japan have maintained close relations in recent years, Kishi said, noting that 2.8 million Taiwanese travelers visited Japan last year. The Taiwanese tourists tasted delicious Japanese dishes while traveling there, and "we hope that Japanese food will be exported to Taiwan smoothly," he said. In addition to food safety issues, Kishi also spoke about security cooperation with Taiwan. As Japan is seeking to strengthen security cooperation with the United States, he hopes that Taiwan will be included in the cooperation to ensure peace and stability in the region, he said, stressing Taiwan's important geographic location in East Asia. Over the course of the four-day visit, the delegation has also met with Foreign Minister David Lin (???), ruling Kuomintang Chairman Eric Chu (???), opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (???) and others. They also called on the mayors of Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Taipei to promote city-to-city exchanges between Taiwan and Japan. Japanese lawmaker and former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is leading another group of Japanese legislators on a visit to Taiwan. (By Elaine Hou)


Updated : 2021-09-28 10:03 GMT+08:00