(read the updated story here)
Taipei, Feb. 8 (CNA) Taiwan will allow imports of Japanese food products from areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster as soon as late February, but will adopt several supporting measures to safeguard the health of its people, the Cabinet announced Tuesday, ending an import ban that has been in place for over a decade.
At a press conference, Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) announced that the government would lift the ban on food imports from five prefectures in Japan — Fukushima, where the disaster happened, and neighboring Gunma, Chiba, Ibaraki, and Tochigi, although a small number of items from the five prefectures will still be banned, including mushrooms, the meat of wild birds and other wild animals, and the Japanese vegetable “koshiabura.”
Taiwan’s ban was introduced for food safety reasons on March 26, 2011, about a fortnight after a massive earthquake and a subsequent tsunami triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
In addition to the ban, the authorities have subjected nine categories of food products produced in other parts of Japan to batch-by-batch border inspections for radioactive residue.
The Cabinet’s announcement came after weeks of media reports that cited ruling Democratic Progressive Party officials as saying that the government was considering easing the import restrictions soon.
The DPP government has argued that resolving the decade-long Japanese food import ban will be helpful to Taiwan’s application to join the Tokyo-led Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Taiwan’s move will leave China and South Korea as the remaining two countries that still maintain an import ban on Japanese food products from areas stricken by the 2011 disaster.
Currently, China maintains a ban on nearly all food imports from Fukushima and its neighboring areas while South Korea bans seafood imports from the affected areas.
(By Teng Pei-ju)
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