ROC mov­ing to­ward eas­ing Ja­pan food rules: Lin

The China Post - - TAIWAN BUSINESS - BY JOSEPH YEH

Tai­wan is mov­ing to­ward lift­ing its cur­rent re­stric­tions on Ja­panese food im­ports, For­eign Min­is­ter David Lin ( ) said yesterday.

Com­ment­ing on food safety yesterday, Lin said most coun­tries around the world have al­ready lifted the ban on the im­port of food pro­duced in the nu­clear ra­di­a­tion af­fected pre­fec­tures of Ja­pan.

“We are also mov­ing to­ward that di­rec­tion,” Lin noted.

The min­is­ter, how­ever, would not say when the on­go­ing re­stric­tions will be eased.

Lin said that the Min­istry of Health and Wel­fare (MHW), the gov­ern­ment branch re­spon­si­ble for mon­i­tor­ing food safety, will make the de­ci­sion on when to do so.

Tai­wan im­posed a ban on the im­port of food pro­duced in the five nu­clear ra­di­a­tion-af­fected Ja­panese pre­fec­tures fol­low­ing the 2011 nu­clear ra­di­a­tion dis­as­ter.

Lo­cal gov­ern­ments fur­ther tight- ened re­stric­tions when prod­ucts from those pre­fec­tures were dis­cov­ered on shelves in Tai­wan ear­lier this year.

At the be­hest of the Leg­isla­tive Yuan, the MHW asked that all im­ported Ja­panese food prod­ucts in­clude more de­tailed cer­tifi­cates of ori­gin in or­der to en­ter Tai­wan start­ing from May 15.

This pol­icy has drawn strong crit­i­cism from the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment and Tokyo has re­peat­edly asked Tai­wan to lift the ban as soon as pos­si­ble.

Lin yesterday said Tai­wan has found no food prod­uct im­ported from Ja­pan to be a food safety con­cern in the coun­try since the gov­ern­ment im­posed the latest re­stric­tions in May.

Also, Tai­wan and Ja­pan have al­ready formed a joint work­ing group, which has held var­i­ous meet­ings to make sure all im­ported Ja­panese food prod­ucts are safe, Lin said.

Lin added that the gov­ern­ment plans to con­tinue ask­ing that im- ported Ja­panese food prod­ucts in­clude more de­tailed cer­tifi­cates of ori­gin be­fore en­ter­ing Tai­wan even af­ter it ul­ti­mately an­nounces lift­ing the ban.

“We will try to find the bal­ance so that we can make sure im­ported Ja­panese food prod­ucts are safe to eat while at the same time con­tin­u­ing our co­op­er­a­tion with Ja­pan,” he said.

Lin Urges Ja­pan to Main­tain

Friendly Ties

Mean­while, Lin yesterday called on Ja­pan to work harder to de­velop friendly re­la­tions with other coun­tries in the re­gion as Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe pre­pares to de­liver his state­ment mark­ing the 70th an­niver­sary of the end of World War II later this month.

Not­ing that Tai­wan and Ja­pan cur­rently have cor­dial re­la­tions, Lin, how­ever, urged Ja­pan to un­der­stand the sig­nif­i­cance of the year 2015 to the R.O.C. gov­ern­ment.

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