Taiwan will continue CPTPP efforts despite comments by Japan

Japan's Foreign Minister condemned ban on Fukushima food imports

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Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - The government said Friday it would continue its efforts to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) despite comments by Japan it would be difficult if it maintained the ban on food imports from areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

A majority of voters supported the continuation of the ban in a referendum on November 24, but Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said that if the ban stayed, Taiwan would have difficulty joining the new trade group.

Minister without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中), who is in charge of trade negotiations for Taiwan, said Friday that the government’s preparations to join CPTPP would not stop and that he would communicate with the Japanese.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said it would continue to hold talks with Tokyo and explain the situation, the Central News Agency reported.

Japan plays a crucial role in the CPTPP, making it difficult for Taiwan to circumvent stances by the Japanese government, officials said. A ministerial meeting of the trade group in January is expected to discuss a new round of applications by countries to join the original 11 founding member nations.

Earlier, Japanese officials had said they might take the Taiwanese ban to the World Trade Organization for a ruling on its legality. According to the Referendum Act, decisions of plebiscites remain valid for at least two years.