Taipei, Feb. 21 (CNA) Taiwan will now allow imports of Japanese food and agricultural products from areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, according to an official notice issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday.
The opening came after the Cabinet announced in early February that it would lift the 10-year ban by the end of this month, meaning that food imports from five prefectures in Japan — Fukushima and neighboring Gunma, Chiba, Ibaraki, and Tochigi — would be permitted to enter Taiwan.
Despite the removal of the blanket ban, some restrictions will remain in place, such as mushrooms, the meat of wild birds and other wild animals, and “koshiabura,” or foraged mountain vegetables, from the five prefectures.
Specific items from certain areas that are not sold in other parts of Japan will continue to be prohibited from entering the local market, according to the FDA’s notice.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), which oversees the FDA’s operations, reiterated its commitment to safeguarding the health of people in the nation by ensuring food safety.
Pledging the government will adopt stricter food safety standards than those upheld by other foreign countries, the MOHW said that instead of “banning food products from certain areas,” it will now prohibit the import of “certain items,” regarding the controversy surrounding food from nuclear disaster-affected Japanese prefectures.
Three auxiliary measures — batch-by-batch border inspections, as well as the attachment of certificates of origin and radiation inspection certificates — will be carried out on the import of potentially risky products, the ministry said.
According to the MOHW, it had received 36 opinion responses from members of the public during the two-week stipulated period starting on Feb. 8 for the collection of public opinions on its latest adjustment of control measures on Japanese food products.
Of the 36 opinions it collected, 17, or 47.2 percent of the total, backed the policy change, while only four were against it, the ministry said, noting that the result showed that more people supported the lifting of the ban than opposed.
The other 15 opinions were related questions about the proposed control measures or suggestions on them, which the ministry said had been replied to.
(By Flor Wang and Chiang Hui-jun)


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