Curbs on Ja­pan im­ports won’t af­fect ties: MOFA

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY JOSEPH YEH

The gov­ern­ment’s lat­est pol­icy of tight­en­ing Ja­panese food prod­uct im­ports will not af­fect ties be­tween the R.O.C. and Ja­pan, a gov­ern­ment min­is­ter claimed yes­ter­day.

Speak­ing dur­ing a leg­isla­tive in­ter­pel­la­tion ses­sion yes­ter­day, Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter An­drew Kao ( ) said that Tai­wan and Ja­pan have main­tained friendly ties for decades.

But he ad­mit­ted that Tai­wan’s soon-to-be im­ple­mented pol­icy that will fur­ther tighten Ja­panese food im­port reg­u­la­tions does cause con­cern in Tai­wan.

How­ever, Kao said the prob­lem could be solved with sound com­mu­ni­ca­tions be­tween both sides. He opined that the in­ci­dent will not im­pact mu­tual ties in the longer run.

Kao made the re­marks when asked to com­ment on an up­com­ing visit by a Ja­panese del­e­ga­tion that is sched­uled to meet with Tai­wanese au­thor­i­ties later this week. The new food im­port reg­u­la­tions are top of the agenda.

Tai­wan has im­posed a ban on the im­port of food pro­duced in the five nu­clear-af­fected pre­fec­tures of Ja­pan — Gunma, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, and Chiba — fol­low­ing the nu­clear dis­as­ter of March 2011.

Lo­cal gov­ern­ments re­cently de­cided to tighten re­stric­tions when prod­ucts from those pre­fec­tures were dis­cov­ered on shelves in Tai­wan ear­lier this year.

At the be­hest of the Leg­is­la­ture, Tai­wan’s Min­istry of Health and Wel­fare (MHW) re­sponded by re­quir­ing all im­ported Ja­panese food prod­ucts to pro­vide more de­tailed cer­tifi­cates of ori­gin to en­ter Tai­wan, ef­fec­tive from May 15.

The de­ci­sion that will re­quire all Ja­panese food prod­ucts to show their spe­cific place of ori­gin rather than sim­ply the coun­try of ori­gin, and have some prod­ucts be ac­com­pa­nied by a ra­di­a­tion in­spec­tion cer­tifi­cate, has drawn strong dis­plea­sure from Ja­panese gov­ern­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to a source familiar with the mat­ter, Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe has asked his spe­cial ad­viser Koichi Hag­iuda to brief Tai­wan on the safety of Ja­panese food when he vis­its the is­land later this week, ac­cord­ing to a source familiar with Tai­wanJa­panese af­fairs.

Hag­iuda’s del­e­ga­tion, which will also in­clude Abe’s brother Nobuo Kishi, is ex­pected to ar­rive in Tai­wan to­mor­row, ac­cord­ing to a Tokyo-based Yomi­uri Shimbun re­port last Satur­day.

The del­e­ga­tion is sched­uled to meet Pres­i­dent Ma Ying-jeou, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. The Pres­i­den­tial Of­fice, how­ever, made no com­ment on the re­ported sched­ule.

Asked by law­mak­ers to com­ment on the sched­uled meet­ing, Kao yes­ter­day con­firmed that Pres­i­dent Ma will re­ceive the del­e­ga­tion.

Kao said he be­lieves the pres­i­dent will clearly ex­plain the Tai­wan gov­ern­ment’s stance on the is­sue and will stress that the tight­en­ing of re­stric­tions is only be­ing done for safety rea­sons be­cause Tai­wanese peo­ple con­tinue to have mis­giv­ings about the safety of Ja­panese food.

Kao said he be­lieves the in­ci­dent will not have a neg­a­tive im­pact on Tai­wan-Ja­pan re­la­tions.

Mean­while, a MHW of­fi­cial yes­ter­day said Tai­wan cur­rently has no in­ten­tion of post­pon­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pol­icy sim­ply be­cause Ja­pan has con­cerns.

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