Wed, Nov 28, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Talks with Japan over import ban ongoing: ministry

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said it would continue to communicate with Japan after Saturday’s passage of a referendum to maintain an import ban on food from five Japanese prefectures to prevent a single issue from impacting the development of Taiwan-Japan ties.

Ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said Japan has been in close contact with the relevant government departments regarding the import ban issue and that both sides have a clear idea of where the other party stands on the matter.

“Regarding the referendum result, the ministry will engage in further communication with the Japanese side and will handle the matter properly to seek understanding from Tokyo,” Lee said, adding that the result was a manifestation of the public’s will.

Implemented by the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government after Japan’s 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant meltdown, the ban has seen the nation close its borders to food imports from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures.

The ministry’s stance on the matter remains the same, which is to protect the health of Taiwanese and handle the issue in accordance with objective international standards and scientific evidence, Lee said.

RATIONAL DIALOGUE

“There are many issues concerning Taiwan-Japan ties. We do not want to see a single issue affect the development of our relations,” Lee said, calling for rational and peaceful dialogue to resolve the issue.

Asked whether the import ban and the nation’s hope of joining the Japan-led Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be brought up at the next annual Taiwan-Japan economic and trade meeting, which is to be held in Taipei from tomorrow to Friday, Lee declined to reveal details of the agenda of the meeting.

However, Lee said he believed both sides would engage in extensive discussions on trade and economic issues.

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