Japanese chain Daiso shuts down store and online shopping platform in Taiwan

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Japanese chain Daiso faces a two-year import ban in Taiwan after local authorities found it falsified dates of imported goods to obtain import permits. ©Getty Images
Japanese chain Daiso faces a two-year import ban in Taiwan after local authorities found it falsified dates of imported goods to obtain import permits. ©Getty Images
Japanese chain Daiso will close its Taiwan retail branch in Penghu and end its online shopping operation in the country by mid-June following a two-year import ban.

According to Daiso Taiwan's website, there a total of 60 stores in Taiwan currently. It will be left with 59 stores in Taiwan after the closing of its Penghu branch.

The firm famous for selling food and a variety of consumer products at discounted price, was penalised for falsifying transaction dates to obtain import permits, Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs said.

It was also fined NT$41.64m (US$1.39m) as a result.

Daiso received a six-month import ban for illegally importing food products from areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and selling them with falsified labels of origin in Taiwan in 2015.

During the ban, it could still import goods from Japan on a case-by-case basis after obtaining permission. However, it had falsified and altered dates of imported goods to predate the six-month ban period that began in November 2015. A total of 694 import application documents were found fraudulent.

In response to the new import ban, Daiso had issued a notice on its Taiwan website.

It stated that it has improved its import procedure since the lapse in 2015 and since then, they did not sell goods classified by the Ministry of Health and Welfare as banned imports from Fukushima and four other areas affected by the nuclear disaster.

It emphasised that it “hopes to continue its operation in Taiwan” ​and will try to sell goods “made in Japan” ​by procuring goods from suppliers who import Japanese goods into Taiwan.

It also refuted rumours of Daiso setting up another company for the continuance of its business in Taiwan.

“We (Daiso Taiwan) will work closer with the parent company, strengthen its business monitoring process, to prevent similar episodes from happening again,"​ it declared.

Fukushima ban

Although there are talks about lifting the Fukushima product ban, many nations are still reluctant to resume import.

In Taiwan, its central election commission had convened a meeting on May 29 to examine four national referendum proposals, including whether the government should continue its ban on agricultural products and food from Fukushima and four other areas (Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Chiba) affected by the 2011 nuclear disaster. 

In Hong Kong, chief executive Carrie Lam had expressed reluctance​ to reopen trade in April.

She emphasised that it is incumbent upon the [government] to safeguard public health and hence effective measures must be in place to ensure food safety and to maintain public confidence​,” a statement issued by Lam’s office read.

According to Japanese officials, food from the affected area is safe, with no radiation having been detected in rice since 2015. In January, a safety panel announced that contamination inspections would be phased out in favour of random spot checks, to bring rice in line with the current procedure for fruits and vegetables.

This position is backed up by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, whose director-general publicly ate sweets made from pears and apples grown in Fukushima at an event in Tokyo last May to publicise the safety of produce from the affected area.

On the other hand, Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance had lifted its ban on imports of Japanese seafood imports from the six prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, Yamagata, Ibaraki, Chiba and Niigata in March this year. 

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