MHW prepares for Japan delegation on food scare
The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW, ) was asked to provide a risk assessment report by experts who said scientific evidence would be sufficient to persuade Japanese officials of the need for action in response to the upcoming Japanese visit to Taiwan to discuss radiation-stricken area food import regulations.
While the Abe government believes Taiwan’s lockdown on its food products is “much too strict,” local organizations blamed the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) lacking management on food imports that could potentially endanger citizens’ health and cause unnecessary panic.
Wu Kuen-yuh ( ), professor at the National Taiwan University College of Public Health, pointed out that the FDA should provide a risk assessment report to fully understand the nation’s consumption of potentially radiation-tainted products and to further create a scientific assessment of the nation’s health.
“A scientific assessment should be sufficient in debates with the Japanese delegation,” experts said.
Food and Drug Administration chief Chiang Yu-mei ( ) responded to frequent rumors that Japanese officials have yet to give appointments to meet with the administration.
on April 29
The MHW’s decision to implement stricter regulations on imported Japanese goods was met with opposition from the Japanese government. The decision was spurred on by the Hsinchu Government’s finding of goods imported from restricted radiationstricken Japanese areas last month and legislators’ demands to maintain stricter guidelines on food imports.
In response, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ( ) is sending a delegation to Taiwan in hopes of furthering discussions between the two nations.
The delegation includes Kishi Nobuo ( ) and Hagiuda Kouichi ( ) from Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party and is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan on April 29.
The regulations, which bind Japanese food enterprises to provide product origin papers and to apply for inspections, were found to be overly restrictive by the Japanese government.
Hayashi Yoshimasa ( ), Japan’s minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, remarked to the government that it is vital to discuss mislabeling product origin information and implementing Japanese food imports to Taiwan as separate issues.
The Japanese government also brought up taking Taiwan’s restrictions to the World Trade Organization ( WTO), during a meeting on food ingredients and industry investigations last week. The Abe government says Taiwan’s stance and inability to provide scientific evidence regarding its accusations of radiationtainted goods is a direct violation of WTO regulations.
The regulations ban food imports from prefectures devastated by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which are Chiba ( ), Gumma ( Ibaraki ( prefectures.
The Presidential Office has yet to declare statements regarding the entire issue and Kishi’s delegation schedule, and merely pointed out that related offices will make announcements regarding the Japanese food import rules in the near future.
The office also reported that the two governments should continue cooperation and speed up discussions to renew Taiwanese citizens’ trust in Japanese food products. ), Fukushima ) and Tochigi ( ( ), )