Japanese Representative to Taiwan Mikio Numata on Tuesday expressed his country’s regret that a referendum proposal on whether to keep a ban on food imports from five Japanese prefectures was accepted by the Central Election Committee.
The referendum asks whether the government should maintain the ban on imports of agricultural products and food from areas affected by the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster on March 11, 2011.
The ban, which was implemented on March 25 of that year, covers Fukushima, Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures.
The referendum, which was proposed by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), is to be voted on alongside the nine-in-one elections on Nov. 24.
In a statement released by the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association in Taipei, Numata said he was disappointed that the food import issue has been used as a political tool, but added that his feelings for Taiwan have not changed.
More than 4.5 million Taiwanese visit Japan every year, and they enjoy food that includes ingredients from Fukushima, Numata said.
“If certain ingredients were found to be unsafe, they would not be sold in Japan,” he added.
Food imports should be subject to controls based on scientific evidence and professional judgement, but they are instead being used for political purposes, Numata said.
He said his mission is to prevent the KMT’s efforts to undermine the friendly relations Taiwan and Japan have been working hard to cultivate, adding that he hopes that Taiwanese will make a rational choice.
PILLAGING PENGHU: A 7,539-tonne Chinese ship found mining sand in the Formosa Banks area was escorted by several CGA ships to a Kaohsiung harbor The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) yesterday announced that it had dispatched ships to intercept Chinese dredging vessels operating in the nation’s territorial waters near Penghu and detained 10 crew members, who were transported to Kaohsiung. A coast guard patrol discovered more than 20 dredging vessels in an area known as the Formosa Banks, 46 nautical miles (85km) southwest of Penghu County’s Cimei islet (七美) at about 5am on Wednesday. The agency responded by dispatching two patrol boats, the 3,000-tonne Kaohsiung and the 500-tonne Penghu, along with two frigates, to intercept the Chinese vessels, while an airborne observation unit was used to monitor
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
CAUTION: The CECC would first observe how the nation fares after easing domestic restrictions and wait for the pandemic to further subside before making its next move The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that relaxing domestic restrictions and border controls simultaneously might complicate efforts to reopen the nation, amid discussions about Taiwan’s exclusion by other countries in their first lists of tourists. The center hopes for there to be a period of observation following the easing of domestic restrictions, before it decides what to do next, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a daily news briefing in Taipei. Chen was responding to a question about the reasoning behind the central government’s decision not to allow foreign students into the
Taiwan respects other countries’ decisions not to include it in their first lists of tourists allowed entry when they reopen their borders, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The Yomiuri Shimbun on Sunday reported that the Japanese government was considering reopening the country to tourists from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand first. Greece on Friday announced that from June 15, it would allow visitors from 29 countries, including Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Japan, Israel, New Zealand, South Korea and Germany. Japan has not yet finalized its visitor list, but the ministry has conveyed its hope that Tokyo would