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February, 28, 2017

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We're not buying it: KMT on 'nuke food' pledge

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Kuomintang (KMT) on Friday resolutely rejected the government's vow to keep food products from Japan's nuclear-affected areas banned until inspections are tightened, and said it would protest at upcoming hearings on the issue.

Premier Lin Chuan's announcement was a "stalling tactic" aimed at giving some breathing room to the under-pressure administration, party deputy secretary-general Chang Ya-ping said at a press conference at KMT headquarters.

In addition to mobilizing demonstrators to surround the public hearing venues for the Dec. 25, Jan. 2 and Jan. 8 meetings, the KMT would hold a large-scale march on Dec. 25, Chang said.

At the Legislature, KMT lawmaker Alicia Wang said the government was simply biding its time.

The premier had not pledged that no food from radiation-affected parts of Japan would be imported, Wang said. This, she suggested, indicated that the government still intended to lift the ban.

"The public cannot accept it if Lin Chuan's announcement … was made just to reduce the pressure mounting on the administration," Wang said.

Lawmakers also said the Cabinet had violated regulations requiring public hearing venues to be announced at least 14 days beforehand. This failure — for the Dec. 25 hearing — demonstrated the administration's "black box" approach to trying to resolve the issue, they said.

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