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Whether or not Taiwan removes its ban on food imports from five Japanese prefectures may be a key factor in its bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, which is effectively led by Tokyo.

“If there is a request from the Japanese side during the negotiations, it’s legitimate for us to respond appropriately,” a senior Taiwanese government official said, showing eagerness to accelerate talks with Japan by paving the way for lifting the self-ruled island’s import restrictions. The restrictions have remained in place since the 2011 meltdown at the tsunami-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

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