Japanese representative disappointed at food import referendum

2018/10/09 22:21:44 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
CNA file photo

CNA file photo

Taipei, Oct. 9 (CNA) Japan's representative to Taiwan Tuesday expressed regret that a referendum proposal on whether the ban on food and agricultural imports from certain areas of Japan should continue was accepted by the Central Election Committee (CEC).

The referendum asks whether the government should maintain the ban on imports of agricultural products and food from areas in Japan affected by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster on March 11, 2011, including Fukushima, Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures.

The petition, which was proposed by opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), will be voted on by the public alongside local government elections on Nov. 24.

In a statement released by the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association in Taipei, Chief Representative Mikio Numata said he was very disappointed that food import issues have been used as a political football, though he reiterated that his feelings for Taiwan have not changed.

Chief Representative Mikio Numata / CNA file photo

Over 4.5 million Taiwanese people visit Japan every year, and they enjoy food that includes ingredients from Fukushima during their stay, Numata pointed out in the statement.

"If certain ingredients were found to be unsafe, they would not be sold in Japan," Numata said in the statement.

Food imports should be subject to control measures based on scientific and professional judgments, but are being used for political purposes, Numata said in the statement.

Numata said his mission is to prevent the KMT's efforts to undermine the friendly relations Japan and Taiwan have been working hard to cultivate, adding that he hopes the people of Taiwan will make a rational choice.

Japan suffered a radiation leak at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Ōkuma, Fukushima Prefecture on March 11, 2011 and on March 25 Taiwan banned food imports from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures.

(By Elaine Hou and William Yen)
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