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China could lift ‘nuclear food’ ban putting pressure on Taiwan

Both China and Taiwan have imposed restriction on food imports from Japanese prefectures affected by the 2011 Fukushima meltdown

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is currently in the midst of his sojourn to China, which began yesterday, Oct. 25.

Abe is the first Japanese prime minister to visit China for 11 years. Reports suggest the leader intends to sign a large number of deals with Beijing during his visit, one of which could be to lift China’s ban on “nuclear food.”

China currently restricts the import of foods produced in 10 Japanese prefectures due to concerns about nuclear radiation after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which was initiated by the devastating tsunami that hit the country in 2011.

Taiwan also placed a restriction on food imports from five Japanese prefectures under Ma Ying-jeou in 2011.

The issue has become grounds for political contestation in the country. The DPP have been working towards easing the ban but KMT opposition has gained enough support to hold a referendum on maintaining it, which will take place alongside nine others in the Nov. 24 local elections.

Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Deputy Secretary-General Hsiesh Bor-huei (謝柏輝) has said the foreign ministry is paying close attention to Abe’s visit. The ministry conducted a briefing with Abe’s delegation before the visit and will make further contact after it concludes. Despite this, the ministry has said it is happy to see signs of improvement in terms of regional peace.

Japan issued a statement saying Taiwan-Japan relations will not be affected.

Hsiesh noted that information currently available suggests Japan and China will discuss cooperation in the fields of security and finance, and that Abe is likely to invite Xi Jinping personally to attend the June 2019 G20 summit in Osaka.