The Cabinet will hold 10 public hearings and meetings of experts as part of an evaluation on whether to lift a ban on produce imported from radiation-affected prefectures in Japan, an official said Monday.
Other factors that need to be taken into consideration include scientific evidence to prove the safety of the produce, border inspection measures and whether other countries have reopened their markets to such produce, according to Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (???).
Taiwan has since March 25, 2011 suspended food imports from the Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba, which are suspected of having suffered radiation contamination as a result of a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant following the earthquake and tsunami of March 11 that year.
Since May 15, 2015, importers of Japanese food products have been required to present certificates of origin to prove items do not originate from any of the five prefectures.
For some imports such as tea, baby food, dairy and aquatic products, radiation inspection certificates have also been required.
Various Japanese groups have reportedly asked Taiwan to lift the ban since Pesident Tsai Ing-wen (???) assumed office in May.
During a legislative committee hearing on the issue, Deputy Minister of Health Ho Chi-kung (???) told lawmakers that the government is currently imposing batch-by-batch inspections on Japanese food imports and will continue this measure even if the ban is lifted.
According to a report presented to the committee by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Council of Agriculture, the ban has not affected overall food imports from Japan.
In 2015, Taiwan imported 251,891 metric tons of produce and processed food products from Japan, up 50.3 percent from 2010, when 167,645 metric tons were imported, the report said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel