KMT questions allowing in banned Japanese food imports

Kuomintang (KMT) Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) said Monday that the party will not easily allow the entry of food imports from five radiation-affected prefectures in Japan that are currently banned by Taiwan because of public health concerns.

Food imports from the Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba have been suspended in Taiwan since March 25, 2011 because of fears of radioactive contamination in those areas from a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Hung said on a Facebook post that the KMT will not accept the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s attempt to use the ban as a bargaining chip in its negotiations on fishing rights with Japan.

She said the previous administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) considered the feasibility of opening imports of banned food products from the five prefectures based on international standards.

At that time, the DPP was strongly opposed to lifting the ban and insisted on a radiation-free policy that professed zero tolerance for any contamination, according to Hung.

Now, the DPP government is determined to open imports of banned Japanese food at the expense of the health of Taiwan’s 23 million people. “Isn’t it ridiculous?” Hung asked.

She said the KMT will welcome the DPP’s call for the resumption of rational discussion on the issue if the DPP government convenes public hearings around Taiwan in accordance with existing procedures.

Hung made the statement after the Cabinet held 10 public hearings from Nov. 12 to 14 in the northern, central, southern and eastern parts of Taiwan as forums for citizens, experts and civic groups to exchange views.

Some of the hearings erupted into chaos, however, because of protests against lifting the ban.

Tang Te-ming (唐德明), deputy head of the KMT Culture and Communications Committee, said Monday that the 10 public hearings should be deemed invalid because they were not held in accordance with established procedures.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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