TAIPEI: Taiwan today lifted an import ban on food products from Fukushima and four other Japanese prefectures imposed in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Amid efforts to secure Japanese support for its bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration said that the ban on food products from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures will be “adjusted” based on risks – a change from the ban based on the production areas.
The ban was lifted except for certain food items such as mushrooms and wild animal meat. Food products from the five prefectures still have to carry prefecture-specific origin labels and documents proving that they passed radiation inspection.
In March 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Following the disaster, 55 countries and regions introduced import curbs on Japanese food products, but most have already lifted them.
In a 2018 referendum, Taiwan voters chose to maintain the ban, after which the government of President Tsai Ing-wen had continued barring food imports from the prefectures.
But the government had also argued that relaxing the ban would facilitate Taiwan’s application to join the trade deal, formally known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Japan played a leading role in negotiations on the trade pact following the withdrawal of the US in 2017 during the administration of president Donald Trump.
Taiwan submitted its application in September last year, just days after mainland China filed its bid for membership.