Food safety to be dis­cussed when Ja­panese group vis­its na­tion at end of month

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe has asked a close aide to dis­cuss the safety of Ja­panese food with Tai­wan when he vis­its the is­land at the end of the month, a Ja­panese daily re­ported on Satur­day.

The Yomi­uri Shimbun said Abe met with his spe­cial ad­viser Koichi Hag­iuda on Fri­day and asked him to brief Tai­wan on the safety of Ja­panese food.

Abe said Tai­wan stepped up its re­stric­tions on food im­ported from Ja­pan be­cause of a mis­un­der­stand­ing, and he hoped the strict rules would not af­fect good bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween the two sides.

Hag­iuda’s del­e­ga­tion, which will also in­clude Abe’s brother Nobuo Kishi, a mem­ber of the House of Coun­cil­lors in the Ja­panese Diet, is ex­pected to de­part for Tai­wan on April 29.

The del­e­ga­tion is sched­uled meet Pres­i­dent Ma Ying-jeou.

Sources familiar with Tai­wanJa­pan af­fairs said Kishi’s trip to

to Tai­wan to call on the Leg­is­la­ture and po­lit­i­cal fig­ures had been planned well in ad­vance, but with Tai­wan step­ping up re­stric­tions on Ja­panese food im­ports, the is­sue has been added to the del­e­ga­tion’s agenda.

Af­ter the melt­down of the Fukushima Dai­ichi nu­clear power plant in the wake of Ja­pan’s dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake on March 11, 2011, Tai­wan banned foods from the nu­clear-af­fected Ja­panese pre­fec­tures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gumma, and Chiba.

The re­stric­tions were tight­ened ear­lier this year af­ter food items from the Ja­panese pre­fec­tures were dis­cov­ered to have made their way into Tai­wanese su­per­mar­kets with the help of false la­bels.

At the be­hest of the Leg­is­la­ture, the Min­istry of Health and Wel­fare re­sponded by re­quir­ing all im­ported Ja­panese food prod­ucts to pro­vide cer­tifi­cates of ori­gin to en­ter Tai­wan.

In ad­di­tion, cer­tain teas, baby foods, dairy prod­ucts and marine prod­ucts from some ar­eas will have to present ra­di­a­tion in­spec­tion cer­tifi­cates. The new mea­sure takes ef­fect on May 15.

The Abe ad­min­is­tra­tion be­lieves Tai­wan’s reg­u­la­tions are too strict and sent a bureau chief from the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries to Tai­wan last week to dis­cuss the is­sue.

An of­fi­cial with the Ja­panese min­istry said it be­lieves Tai­wan is not abid­ing by in­ter­na­tional norms and is think­ing of tak­ing the case to the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

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