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Taiwan bars local governments from banning import of Fukushima food

Central government lifted national ban on Feb. 21

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Local governments do not have the right to ban the sale of food from Fukushima, Taiwan's central government says. 

Local governments do not have the right to ban the sale of food from Fukushima, Taiwan's central government says.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Plans by five local governments to ban the sale of food from five regions of Japan affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster are unconstitutional, the central government said Friday (March 4).

Taiwan announced the lifting last month of a ban on food produced in the prefectures of Fukushima, Chiba, Gunma, Ibaraki and Tochigi, but also introduced tough inspection measures. The end of the ban was widely seen as helpful for the country’s bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), in which Japan plays a major role.

The Cabinet said Friday evening it had informed the governments of the special municipalities of Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung that their food safety regulations banning the sale of the Japanese foods were unconstitutional and invalid, CNA reported.

Food imports, international trade policies, and food safety standards fell under the jurisdiction under the central government as they were the same for the whole country, officials said. The Cabinet said it first wrote letters to the five local governments on Feb. 21, the day the ban on Japanese food imports ended, and on Friday officially declared the local bans invalid. In addition, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) said it had sent similar notices to 11 other cities and counties.

Under the national rules introduced last month, health officials will conduct batch-by-batch border inspections, while importers will also have to present certificates of origin and radiation inspection certificates. Mushrooms, seafood and tea from adjacent regions will also be subject to similar measures.