Over 70% protest food from radiation-affected Japan: poll

More than 70 percent of polled respondents opposed the import of food products from five radiation-affected prefectures in Japan in a public opinion poll published by the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) on Tuesday.

The KMT said that 74.6 percent of those polled opposed the removal of restrictions, compared with only 17.7 percent who supported the relaxation of import controls.

In the same poll 85 percent of respondents also opposed importing U.S. pork containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine, compared with only 4.1 percent who accepted the necessity of doing so.

In addition, 63.7 percent of those polled said that whether radiation-affected food products or pork containing ractopamine, the government should not relax import restrictions as long as there are food safety concerns.

However, 29.5 percent of respondents also said that if the lifting of restrictions promotes international trade and economic development, imports of such products should be allowed as long as they meet international safety standards.

Chiang Chi-chen (江啟臣), a KMT caucus whip in the Legislature, urged the government to listen to the voice of the people.

The survey conducted on Nov. 13-14 by Trend Survey & Research Co. and commissioned by the KMT, collected 1,112 effective samples, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.94 percentage points.

Meanwhile, the opposition People First Party on Tuesday called for the reconvening of public hearings into the importation of Japanese food products.

The PFP issued a press release on Tuesday after 10 government- sponsored public hearings held from Nov. 12-14, widely seen as a move to pave the way for the lifting of the ban on food imports from the five Japanese prefectures.

Most of the public hearings ended in chaos as protesters clashed with police.

The PFP called on the Council of Agriculture to follow normal public hearing procedures, fully disclose information and listen to views from all sides.

“The just concluded public hearings are not valid,” it said, demanding new public hearings.

Food imports from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures have been banned in Taiwan since March 25, 2011, after a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, triggered by a devastating earthquake on March 11 that year, raised concerns over the possible radioactive contamination of food.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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