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Taiwan, Japan set up working group to address food safety issues

Taiwan, Japan set up working group to address food safety issues

Taipei, June 2 (CNA) Taiwan and Japan have set up a joint working group to deal with food safety issues, including the false labeling of Japanese food items sold in Taiwan that led to tighter regulations on Japanese food imports, a Taiwanese official Tuesday. The working group, which was set up recently, met for the first time in Tokyo from May 29 to June 1, said Chou Shyue-yow (???), deputy director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, at a regular news briefing. The two sides covered such issues as the investigation into the mislabeling incident, precautionary measures to avoid similar cases, and regulations on Japanese food imports into Taiwan, Chou said. Negotiations on those issues will continue, he said, with the next meeting set to take place in the first half of June in Taipei. The top priority is to get to the bottom of the mislabeling incident, he said, noting that among the issues being covered is whether Taiwan will lift restrictions on Japanese food imports. The goal of the working group is to serve as a vehicle for communicating regularly and exchanging information on food safety, he said. It was established after Taiwan discovered in March that food items from five prefectures whose food products had been banned were imported illegally into Taiwan with labels that falsely identified the items' places of origins. Taiwan decided to implement new regulations on Japanese food imports in the wake of the incident, despite Japan's opposition. Food products from the prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba have been banned in Taiwan since those areas suffered radiation contamination as a result of a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011. Under the new regulations that were enforced on May 15, importers of Japanese food products are required to present certificates of origin to prove that the imports are not from any of the five prefectures. For some imports such as tea, baby food, dairy and aquatic products, radiation inspection certificates are also required. Before the joint working group was set up, Taiwanese and Japanese officials had held two meetings to discuss the issue, according to Chou. Food safety issues will also be on the agenda of a mid-term review of the 39th Taiwan-Japan Economic and Trade Conference, which is slated for June 18 in Taipei. The 39th Taiwan-Japan Economic and Trade Conference (Meeting) took place last November, with a goal to strengthen Taiwan-Japan economic cooperation. (By Elaine Hou)


Updated : 2021-09-22 05:16 GMT+08:00