Taiwanese authorities have just announced that they would soon lift import restrictions on food products from Fukushima and four other Japanese prefectures. The restrictions had been continued since the March 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO).
Importation of food from those prefectures will thus resume after a hiatus of approximately 11 years.
After the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi NPPs, Taiwanese authorities banned the import of all food products from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba Prefectures, with the exception of alcoholic beverages. Additionally, since May 2015, Taiwan tightened those restrictions by requiring certificates of origin to be attached for foods from prefectures other than the five listed above.
Japan had sought withdrawal of the restrictions, saying that they were “unilateral measures not based on scientific grounds.”
At a press conference on February 8, Taiwanese authorities announced their intention to permit importation of the food products soon, though they will still exclude such foods as the meat of wild birds and animals, along with mushrooms, that are produced in the five prefectures. Moreover, survey reports on radioactive materials will still have to be attached for the permitted foods from the five prefectures. Furthermore, Taiwan will still inspect all the imported foods.
At the press conference, press secretary for the Executive Yuan of the Republic of China (Taiwan) started out by noting that Japan’s food management was stricter than international standards, then went on to state, “Taiwan cannot ignore international standards and scientific grounds. Given that most parts of world have relaxed import restrictions from Fukushima, we cannot deny Japan’s rational request.”
President Tsai Ing-wen of the Republic of China (Taiwan) appears to expect the resolution of this issue between Taiwan and Japan to give momentum to negotiations on Taiwan’s membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), for which it applied in September 2021.