Tue, Dec 18, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Ministry waits on official Japanese word on trade

Staff writer, with CNA

Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu answers questions at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

The Japanese government has not yet responded to a request to clearly indicate whether it would support Taiwan’s efforts to join a Japan-led international economic bloc, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said yesterday.

Wu told a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee that the controversy over Taiwan’s efforts to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership arose after a majority of voters last month backed a referendum to maintain a ban on food imports from areas in Japan.

Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Kono expressed disappointment at the results and said that Tokyo would consider filing a complaint with the WTO over the ban, which has been in place since the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant disaster in March 2011.

Kono said that a decision to maintain the ban might hamper Taipei’s efforts to gain membership in the trade pact, which is to take effect on Dec. 30.

Asked by legislators whether Kono’s comments meant that Taiwan has little chance of joining the second wave of applications next year, Wu said that the ministry was still trying to confirm the Japanese government’s stance on the issue.

The nation has obtained information through other channels that indicated the ban would not affect its chances of joining the trade pact, but Kono has not openly stated this, Wu said.

The ministry has asked the Japanese government to clearly state its position on the issue and is awaiting a response, which is expected in a day or two, Wu said.

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