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Under Political Pressure, Taiwan Lifts Ban on Food Imports from Japan's Nuclear Disaster Area
The administration of President Tsai Ing-wen announced that Taiwan is lifting import restrictions on food products from Japanese prefectures around Fukushima. However, the lack of radiation testing equipment in Taiwan has caused public concern.
(Photo from: The Storm Media)
Japanese "Nuclear Food" is Coming: How to Ensure Food Safety?
Summary Report by Taiwan Weekly
The government announced on February 8 Taiwan would lift the ban on food from five counties and cities around Fukushima, Japan. Spokesman Luo Bing-cheng of the Executive Yuan stated that this will help Taiwan joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). However, the government's opening of nuclear-polluted food has caused social controversy. The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) is forming a nationwide alliance of 22 county and city council caucuses to oppose lifting restrictions on nuclear-contaminated food imports. A Japanese journalist in Taiwan said that the Japanese government's use of political means to pressure Taiwan to open up is an immoral action.
According to media commentary, the Tsai administration is inconsistent: It is opening up Taiwan to nuclear-contaminated food imports but has prohibited the operation of an accident-free nuclear power plant.
Nuclear Power versus Nuclear-Contaminated Food: Which is Safer?
China Times Editorial, February 12, 2022
The Executive Yuan announced suddenly the lifting of ban on food products from five Japanese prefectures affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, taking effect on February 21.
Like the sudden announcement on lifting the import ban on the American Pork with Ractopamine last August, the public was kept in the dark and turned panic. Consequently, the restaurants and food processors all over Taiwan have posted signs that they will not use American pork containing ractopamine residues.
A scholar suggests that there is no urgency for mainland China to formulate a unification law. It should focus on increasing Taiwan's understanding of the mainland, so that the two sides may discuss ways of future interaction.
Is It Necessary for China to Establish a Unification Law?
By Liu Shing-ren
China Times, February 12, 2022
Zhang Nianchi, a renowned mainland Chinese scholar on Taiwan affairs and former director of the Shanghai Institute of East Asian Studies, recently wrote that the mainland urgently needs to enact a “Unification Act” now, covering measures of peaceful unification and forceful unification, because acting by the law could not only coerce the other side but also stabilize its own side, and using law as a weapon could be very powerful. As the situation across the Taiwan Strait is intense, Mr. Zhang’s proposal attracts much attention.
According to a commentator, the important implication of the Sino-Russian joint statement is that China and Russia will join forces to resist the United States and the West. The development marks yet another change in the triangular relationship between China, the United States, and Russia.
United Daily News)
Sino-Russian Statement Says No to U.S.
By Philip Yang
United Daily News, February 13, 2022
Under American diplomatic boycott, President Vladimir Putin of Russia attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics and held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. China and Russia signed nearly 20 documents on cooperation. After the Putin-Xi meeting, both sides issued a presumably historical document, the China-Russia Joint Statement on the International Relations Entering a New Era and the Global Sustainable Development (Sino-Russian Joint Statement).
The administration of President Joe Biden issued its first "Indo-Pacific Strategy" report, which affirms that the United States will support Taiwan's self-defense capabilities and deter military aggression towards Taiwan.
February 8: The Pentagon announced on February 7 that the United States Department of State has approved the sale of equipment and services worth $100 million to Taiwan to help maintain and improve the Patriot missile system, strengthen Taiwan’s air defense system and surveillance capabilities, and deter regional threats. This is the second arms sales to Taiwan since President Joe Biden took office. The procedure of notifying Congress will take place, and the arms sale is expected to take effect in a month.
February 8: The Executive Yuan announced that the ban on food imports from the five Japanese prefectures around Fukushima will be conditionally lifted. President Tsai Ing-wen emphasized on Facebook that “Taiwan will not import nuclear-contaminated food,” and that the government will take stricter measures than international standards to guard food safety. Taiwan should have confidence in participating in a higher-standard international economic and trade pact like the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to strengthen Taiwan's linkages with the world.
February 9: The National Tsing Hua University (NTHU), National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU), and National Chung Hsing University (NCHU) have been seeking approval to establish post-baccalaureate departments of medicine. The NTHU received approval by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in September last year. The MOE stated on February 9 that NSYSU and NCHU also received approval, and the three schools will each be able to enroll 30 publicly-funded students as soon as this fall after receiving additional approval by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
February 10: The policy of providing air-conditioning in every elementary and junior high school classroom was realized ahead of schedule. The MOE indicated that some 3,300 schools in Taiwan have completed installaton of 181,953 air conditioners by January and are conducting follow-up testing. The air-conditioning electricity bill will be paid by the government. The government invested a total of NT32.3 billion (about US1.1 billion) to install the air conditioners, which took a year and a half to complete.
February 11: The Economist Intelligence Unit released its 2021 Democracy Index report. Among 165 countries and two regions (Palestine and Hong Kong), Taiwan was listed as a "complete democracy" with a total score of 8.99 (out of 10), ranked 8th. Taiwan surpassed Australia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, and Germany, and is the only one in Asia to rank in the top 10.
February 12: The Council of Agriculture (COA), Executive Yuan, froze egg price increases in production areas before the Chinese New Year, making chicken farmers reluctant to raise chickens because prices could not meet the cost and leading to an egg shortage across Taiwan. As a result, egg prices in the market soared, and supply could not meet demand. In order to boost production of eggs, the COA announced on February 10 that it will subsidize the cost of feed for chicken farmers and premature hens. But on February 11, the decision to freeze price increases was reversed, and egg prices increased starting February 12.
February 12: The White House released its "Indo-Pacific Strategy" report on February 11. According to the report, the United States will work with regional partners to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, support Taiwan's self-defense capabilities, ensure that Taiwan's future be determined peacefully according to the will and best interests of the people of Taiwan, and deter military aggression from across the strait.
February 13: According to media reports, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will hold an executive committee on February 17 to discuss membership applications from Taiwan, China, and Ecuador by video conference. After Taiwan announced lifting import restrictions on food from the five prefectures around Fukushima, Japan, Japan is expected to support Taiwan's participation in the CPTPP. But to successfully join the CPTPP, the unanimous consensus of all 11 member states must be obtained.