The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday took to the streets of Taipei, threatening to recall any lawmakers who voice support for the lifting of the nation’s import ban on Japanese food products from five Japanese prefectures, urging President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration to provide the public with an explanation.
Taiwan imposed import restrictions on food products from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures following the meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on March 11, 2011.
Addressing a rally against the relaxation of the ban outside the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall MRT Station in the afternoon, KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) accused Tsai’s administration of caving in to Japanese pressure and “forcing radiation-contaminated foods down the throats of Taiwanese.”
“We do not understand the Democratic Progressive Party’s [DPP] sudden flip-flop; we do not understand why the government is forcing people and their children to consume radiation-tainted food; and we do not understand … why we have to import radiation-contaminated food products just because of pressure from Japan,” Hung said.
Despite opposition to nuclear power plants being one of its major policy platforms, the DPP on one hand says all of Taiwan proper could be affected in the event of a nuclear disaster, but on the other says that the import of Japanese foods, except those from Fukushima, should be allowed, Hung said.
Hung then led the protesters in chanting slogans such as: “Whoever supports radiation-tainted foods will be recalled” and “opposing radiation-affected foods to save our kids; opposing radiation-affected foods to save ourselves; opposing radiation-affected foods to save Taiwan.”
The protesters then marched to Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office Building, before heading toward the Ministry of Finance, which is next to Tsai’s official residence.
The demonstration took place concurrently with a referendum signature collection event held just a few hundred meters away organized by KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), who is reportedly interested in running against Hung in the KMT’s next chairperson election in May next year.
Asked whether the two separate events suggested disagreement between her and Hau, Hung dismissed the idea, saying that KMT headquarters welcomed the referendum drive initiated by Hau on the import ban.
Earlier yesterday, Hau and other KMT officials mobilized hundreds of supporters to boycott the first extra public hearings an lifting the import ban held by the Executive Yuan in New Taipei City’s Sindian District (新店) in the morning.
“The purpose of a public hearing should be to solicit the opinions of all sectors of society before deciding whether to allow imports of Japanese foods from radiation-affected areas,” Hau said. “If the public hearing is merely used by the government to brief or convince the public, we will definitely not accept it.”
The Executive Yuan arranged three extra public hearings on the import ban — scheduled for yesterday, Monday next week and Jan. 8 — after the previous 10 hearings that took place last month were criticized as being held in a hasty manner.
However, the hearing yesterday was disrupted by scuffles and verbal clashes.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said that a surge in respiratory illnesses in China has been caused by at least seven types of pathogens, and small children, elderly people and immunocompromised people should temporarily avoid unnecessary visits to China. The recent outbreak of respiratory illnesses in China is mainly in the north and among children, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said on Monday. Data released by the Chinese National Health Commission on Sunday showed that among children aged one to four, the main pathogens were influenza viruses and rhinoviruses, while among children aged five to 14, the main pathogens
A study published by online booking platform Expedia revealed searches for travel to Taipei have ballooned 2,786 percent following the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions due to the city being a “designation dupe” for Seoul. The TikTok trend for duping — referring to substituting a designation for a more inexpensive alternative — helped propel interest in Taipei, it said in a consumer survey titled “Unpack ‘24,” which was conducted from September to October in 14 countries. Location dupes are “every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true places travelers love,” Expedia trend tracker Melanie Fish said of the year’s popular alternatives, which
INCENTIVES: The province’s ‘21 measures’ include enhanced agricultural loans for Taiwanese farmers, and rent waivers and housing subsidies for Taiwanese start-ups China’s Fujian Province on Monday began implementing 15 economic measures targeting Taiwanese in its latest bid to fan pro-Beijing sentiment ahead of the Jan. 13 elections. Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency said the policies were part of “21 measures” unveiled in September by China for Fujian’s “integrated cross-strait development demonstration zone.” The partially implemented measures, which were created with input from Beijing, include reducing the wait time for Taiwanese applying for a visa from 20 days to five days and free public transit for Taiwanese older than 65, it said. Residents of Taiwan were granted use of the “all provincial Taiwanese entrepreneur compatriot
Tokyo has requested regions in southern Japan to accommodate people evacuated from Okinawa Prefecture in case of a war in the Taiwan Strait, Kyodo news agency reported on Monday. If a conflict breaks out across the Strait, people on the Sakishima Islands, which lie between Taiwan proper and Okinawa’s main island, would have to be evacuated from the prefecture, the news agency reported. An estimated 120,000 people would need to be moved, including 110,000 citizens and 10,000 tourists, it said. Niitani Koushi, who is in charge of crisis management at the Japanese Cabinet Secretariat, visited Yamaguchi Prefecture at the southern end of Japan’s