New rules on Japanese food imports to be enforced as planned
Taipei, May 12 (CNA) A new measure that will tighten regulations on Japanese food imports will be enforced from May 15 as scheduled, a Cabinet spokesman said Tuesday.
Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) reaffirmed the government's stance after Japan again criticized the new measure.
Media reports said that Yoshimasa Hayashi, Japan's minister of agriculture forestry and fisheries, said after a Cabinet meeting in Tokyo that Taiwan has not submitted scientific data and has ignored Japan's "repeated explanations" on its food safety.
Japan will continue to request that Taiwan retract the measure and if no progress is made, "Japan will not rule out the possibility of filing the case with the World Trade Organization," reports cited Hayashi as saying.
Sun noted that according to information from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the new measure has been formulated based on more than 60,000 pieces of inspection information data.
"The government will make reviews and adjustments at a later date," he said.
He said that Taiwan has taken stock of the practices of other countries, noting that China and South Korea have taken the same approach, but Japan has not threatened to take their cases to the WTO.
Sun said that Japan should more aggressively check the labeling of place of origin of its exported goods and provide Taiwan with any false reporting information resulting from the checks.
Food products from the Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba have been banned in Taiwan since those areas were suspected to have suffered radiation contamination as a result of a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011.
Under the new regulations that will take effect May 15, importers of Japanese food products will be required to present certificates of origin to prove that the imports are not from any of the five prefectures. For some imports such as tea, baby food, and dairy and aquatic products, radiation inspection certificates will also be required.
The government came up with the measures after it was discovered in March that food items from the five prefectures had made their way illegally into Taiwan.
A delegation of Japanese lawmakers visited Taiwan recently to urge the government not to implement the new regulations.
(By Hsieh Chia-chen, Y.F. Low and Lilian Wu) ENDITEM /J
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