National / Politics

Taiwan sets referendum on Japanese food import ban for Nov. 24

Kyodo

Taiwan’s Central Election Commission has decided to hold a total of nine referendums on Nov. 24, including one on the ongoing embargo on food imports from five Japanese prefectures that was imposed in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The referendums will take place on the day of unified local elections.

According to the commission, Taiwanese voters will be asked whether to maintain the import ban on agricultural products and food from areas affected by the meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, including Fukushima, Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures.

The main opposition Kuomintang party has proposed the referendum, with the aim of blocking the resumption of the imports planned by the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

To ensure the referendum will go forward the opposition party has collected more than 310,000 signatures, surpassing the minimum requirement of 280,000.

To maintain the Japanese food bad, nearly 5 million votes will be necessary in the referendum and such a figure will be difficult to attain, people familiar with the matter said.

Kuomintang aims to take the upper hand in the local elections by highlighting its stance against the Tsai Ing-wen administration over the food issue, they added.