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September 26, 2017

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No black-box dealings over 'nuke-food' at talks: KMT

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Kuomintang (KMT) caucus lawmakers urged the Tsai Ing-wen administration to clarify its stance on whether the ban on Japanese food imports from radiation-affected regions would remain intact and to avoid "non-transparent negotiations" during annual trade and economic talks between Taiwan and Japan.

"Seventy-five percent of the Taiwanese people are against allowing radiation-affected food imports into Taiwan," KMT lawmaker Johnny Chiang ( 江啟臣) said during a press conference at the Legislature. "During the Taiwan-Japan trade and economic talks, the (central government's) opposition to lifting the ban must be stated clearly to Japan."

The KMT caucus expressed concern that Japanese representatives may pressure Taiwan into agreeing to lift the ban on food imports from Japan's radiation-affected regions after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Addressing questions from the press, Chiang added that the Executive Yuan must address the details of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that is slated to be signed tomorrow with Japan, and clarify whether items on the MOU would come at a cost to public health. No details of what the MOU would entail were mentioned as of press time.

"How could the people trust the Democratic Progressive Party not to carry out 'black box negotiations' with Japan? How can they trust (that the DPP) will not sell out Taiwanese nationals' health for political benefits?" Chiang asked.

Lack of Manpower for Border Checks

KMT Legislator Lee Yen-siu (李彥秀) pointed out that border checks led by the government were not sufficient to constitute strict inspections. Coupled with a lack of credibility behind Japanese enterprises' export certification and a lack of legal collaboration between the two countries, easing the ban may "seriously harm nationals' health," Lee said.

She also went on to point out that the public hearings actively held by the government as of late were not legally binding and only served as a reference for the government.

The Atomic Energy Council only allocated NT$17.28 million in its budget for radiation inspections, Legislator Ko Chih-en said. "There are only 10 part-time inspectors in Northern Taiwan, three in Southern Taiwan."

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