Japan regrets Taiwanese vote to maintain food import ban

Taiwan voted to maintain a ban on imports of agricultural products and food from areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster

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Japanese Flag (AP photo)

TAIPEI (CNA) -- Japan expressed regret that Taiwan's public voted on Saturday to back a referendum to maintain the ban on imports of agricultural products and food from areas in Japan affected by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster on March 11, 2011.

Officials at the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, the organization that represents the interests of Japan in Taiwan, voiced their regret when asked by CNA about the result of Saturday's referendum.

The referendum asked voters if they agree the government should maintain the ban on imports of agricultural products and food from areas in Japan affected by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster on March 11, 2011, including Fukushima, Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures.

Taiwanese voters supported the measure by a 78-22 percent margin among the nearly 10 million valid votes cast.

On Sunday, Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said that based on the Referendum Act, the Ministry of Health and Welfare will continue to uphold the ban, keeping inspection checks on food imports from Japan.