Hualien wants to keep ban on food imports from Japan

The local government head in Hualien County on Wednesday expressed opposition to the idea of lifting the ban on food imports from radiation-affected areas of Japan, citing food safety concerns.

At a county council hearing, Hualien Magistrate Fu Kun-chi (傅崐萁) said he would not allow food products from those areas of Japan to enter Hualien and he also signed a statement to that effect.

In a city council meeting in Tainan, Mayor Lai Ching-te (賴清德) took a similar stance, saying the ban on food products from Fukushima must remain in place to safeguard people’s health.

He said Japanese food products that are not allowed on the Japan or United States market should not be imported to Taiwan.

Lai, however, declined to sign a petition against lifting the ban on food imports from radiation-affected areas of Japan.

The request to sign the petition was made by Tainan City Councilor Tsai Yu-hui (蔡育輝) of the opposition Kuomintang amid controversy over a possible move by Taiwan to lift the ban.

Earlier this month, the local governments of the 13 DPP-controlled cities and counties, including Tainan, issued a joint statement, calling for the introduction of stricter food safety standards than in the European Union and the United States.

The 13 local governments proposed maintaining the ban on tea, water, baby formula and aquatic products from Gunma, Chiba, Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures and mandating certificates of origin and radiation inspection for any other food imports from the four areas.

Taiwan has a ban on imports of food products from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba, which were contaminated with radiation in the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant after a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

Taiwan’s government is now considering lifting the ban on food imports from all of those areas, except Fukushima, but has encountered heavy opposition, mainly over food safety concerns.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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