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No timetable for Japanese food imports: Taiwan

Government discounts reports of Lunar New Year liberalization

A shopper in Japan's Ibaraki Prefecture.

A shopper in Japan's Ibaraki Prefecture. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The government said Friday it had no timetable for allowing the import of food from the Japanese regions affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, rejecting reports that it would announce the measure after this month’s Lunar New Year holiday.

Shortly after the disaster, Taiwan banned the import of food from the prefectures of Fukushima, Chiba, Gunma, Ibaraki and Tochigi.

The issue will be handled according to considerations for national health and international standards, the Central News Agency reported the government as saying Friday.

Pressure from Japan, for which Taiwan is a major market, and the island’s own campaign to join the Japanese-led Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership were conspiring to lead the government in ending the ban around the February 15-20 holidays, the United Daily News reported Friday.

Earlier, some government officials indicated that a change was likely because the disaster was already almost seven years in the past. Taiwan should follow the example of the United States and follow a system where risky food is prohibited rather than food from certain areas, officials said.