Japan urges Taiwan to relax restrictions on food imports

Kyodo

Japan’s de facto embassy in Taiwan has urged the country to relax restrictions placed on food from certain prefectures after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The Interchange Association, which is responsible for bilateral relations in the absence of diplomatic ties, said in a statement that since the ban was imposed about five years ago, it has provided the Taiwan government with a massive amount of scientific data to prove that Japanese food products are safe for consumption.

As many countries have either lifted their bans or relaxed restrictions on food imports from Japan, it hopes the Taiwan government will do the same.

“Against the backdrop, we also want to explain to the Taiwanese public the safety of Japanese food products and hope it will understand that they are safe,” it said.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it supported lifting the ban but emphasized that the legislature and Taiwanese public must be convinced that the imported food products are safe before officials agree to it.

On top of the ban, the Taiwan government began to tighten inspections on food products imported from Japan on May 15 last year.

Under the beefed-up measure, food products imported from Japan must carry prefecture-specific labels of origin, and some food products from certain prefectures must carry documents proving they have passed radiation checks.

Japan has criticized Taiwan for failing to base the measure on scientific evidence and has asked the island’s government to reverse its decision.