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September 22, 2017

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Yunlin prosecutors begin FPG fire investigation

But the Yunlin magistrate, Su, was not satisfied by Wu's directives, which she described as "unnecessary."

Su said the key demands that her administration has made have been ignored.

While safety of factories in Taiwan, including the Mailiao plant, are currently monitored by local governments, Su is demanding the central government put the FPG base under a monitoring system on the national level.

The central government must set up a national committee for chemical safety investigation, introduce a health risk assessment scheme, and expand the coverage of compensations for losses to agricultural and fishery industries as a result of such accidents, according to Su.

Su said Wu did not address any of these issues when announcing the measures in the wake of the FPG fire.

She noted the order for plant suspension was redundant, as the seriously damaged facilities at the plant are actually inoperable.

The premier demanded FPG produce a report on the fire within one week, but that is actually a requirement of the law, the Yunlin chief pointed out.

Mailiao residents are seeking a suspension of the entire base, during which all facilities must be thoroughly checked. They are also asking that an expansion project at the base be terminated.

A leader of the Mailiao residents, Lin Fu-tien, said they would stage another protest.

Lin said they are worried that such accidents may repeat at any time in the future if the entire production base is not suspended for a thorough check.

Premier Wu yesterday confirmed that the Yunlin government already suspended the fire-hit plant well before his Friday announcement.

But he hinted that there might a political agenda behind Su's demands.

The Mailiao complex, under the jurisdiction of the Yunlin government, has seen more than a dozen accidents of different scales over the past eight years, Wu said.

The premier said it is clear who was the ruling party in the central government during the period.

The Democratic Progressive Party, which has long controlled Yunlin, was the ruling party between 2000 and 2008, before losing to the Kuomintang.

Wu said it is now time to set aside the differences and work together to prevent and handle disasters.

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