Tokyo, Dec. 6 (CNA) Taiwan should prohibit imports of Japanese food products contaminated with radiation but allow imports of food free of radiation, Taiwan’s representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said Sunday.
Hsieh made the comment in a Facebook post while flying back to Japan after returning to Taiwan to report to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on his work last month.
Taiwan has imposed a ban on food imports from five Japanese prefectures hit by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster due to concerns over the threat posed to food safety by possible nuclear radiation contamination.
For the sake of public health, Taiwan should not allow imports of Japanese food that could be contaminated by radiation from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, Hsieh said. However, he added that imports of radiation-free food should be permitted in line with international rules of free trade.
Whether food products contain trace levels of radiation should be determined by scientific testing, not politics or a majority of the people.
There has been much media speculation whether Taiwan’s ban on Japanese food products could affect the nation’s chances of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans- Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a fledgling Pacific trade pact led by Japan.
Responding to questions on the issue Hsieh said if there is no scientific justification for the ban on food imports from the five Japanese prefectures, it could fuel opposition to Taiwan’s participation in the CPTPP.
Taiwan’s exclusion from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the biggest regional trade agreement ever, established by China and 14 other countries last month, places its exporters in a disadvantageous position in terms of international competition.
Therefore, it is increasingly important for the nation to join the CPTPP, Hsieh added.