Japan urges Taiwan to ease Fukushima food import ban

By Lester Wan contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Taipei branch of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry is asking Taiwan to ease the ban on imports, enforced since 2011 because of the Fukushima disaster. ©GettyImages
The Taipei branch of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry is asking Taiwan to ease the ban on imports, enforced since 2011 because of the Fukushima disaster. ©GettyImages

Related tags: World trade organization

Japanese trade chiefs are calling on Taiwan to ease the ban on food imports that has been enforced since 2011 due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The Taipei branch of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) stated in its annual white paper that it hopes that Taiwan will ease its restrictions on imports from five prefectures (Fukushima, as well as nearby Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi and Chiba) and sign a free trade deal with Japan.

“Taiwan must amend regulations that are applied only here and run counter to international practices,”​ the report said.

Takeshi Yagi, chairman, JCCI Taipei, also said in the report that he hopes that the ban could be eased in phases with a view to being fully lifted eventually.

A year ago, Taiwan considered easing the ban in stages. However, the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party gave strong opposition and questioned the government’s ability to ensure the safety of the products.

Subsequently, the government also dropped the plan following the discovery that banned food products from the region had slipped into Taiwan and been sold.

Clear guidelines

Last month, a World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel had ruled in Japan's favour in a dispute over South Korean restrictions on imports of Japanese fish and other seafood imposed after the disaster, that had been in place since 2013.

In the report, the JCCI further requested that Taiwan determine its New Southbound Policy more clearly, which had called for improving relations with Asean nations as well as Australia, New Zealand and South Asian nations.

Within Japan, the JCCI urged Taiwan to change its labour laws, to reduce red tape and to ease rules for foreign investors.

Japan is Taiwan’s third-largest trading partner, while Taiwan is Japan’s fourth-largest trading partner.

Just a few months ago, Taiwan had lifted a 16-year ban on beef imports​ from Japan due to mad cow disease.

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