MHW pre­pares for Ja­pan del­e­ga­tion on food scare

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY STEPHANIE CHAO

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.

Dis­cus­sions Com­mence

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 ( ( ), )

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