• Kyodo

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Taiwan will continue to ban food imports from five prefectures tainted by the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster despite Tokyo’s efforts to apply stricter export inspections.

An official at the Health and Welfare Ministry said Friday the import ban will remain in place and that Taiwanese authorities have no plans to lift it any time soon.

“Both sides have been discussing the issue since the ban was put in place,” he said. “We proceed at our own pace and will conduct an overall assessment before making any decision.”

Until then, the ministry’s job is to ensure that all food products, domestically produced or imported, are safe, he said.

After the 2011 Fukushima core meltdowns tainted much of east Japan with radiation, Taiwan banned food imports from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures, and has been conducting random radiation checks on 11 categories.

Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in October that it was planning to introduce regulations requiring foods imported from Japan to carry prefecture-specific labels of origin, with some items needing to undergo radiation checks by Japanese authorities.

The drafted regulations were expected to take effect as early as next year if no objections are filed within the 60-day window, which began on Oct. 29.

However, the FDA said that the regulations will not come into force on Jan. 1 because it had received “many different voices” which will be taken into account before making an official announcement of the regulations.

Apart from food imports, the legislature’s Finance Committee decided last month that containerized cargos originating here and containing waste materials such as plastic waste, scrap metal and waste paper must go through radiation checks at the island’s four seaports in Keelung and Taipei in the north, Taichung in central Taiwan and Kaohsiung in the south.

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