Taiwan’s Fukushima food ban lifting viewed from mainland China
February 25, 2022
The Taiwan authorities formally lifted the ban on food imports from Japan’s Fukushima and four other prefectures on Monday. The ban was imposed after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.
The island authorities’ move is similar to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s decision in 2021 to lift the restrictions on the import of pork with ractopamine, a feed additive harmful to human health, from the United States. In fact, it is also to please the US that the DPP is opening up the island’s market to food products from Fukushima ignoring the high risk of nuclear contamination.
By ignoring the health concerns about the food products from Fukushima, the DPP is putting Taiwan residents’ health and lives in danger.
After a devastating earthquake-triggered tsunami caused a meltdown of three of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s six nuclear reactors on March 11, 2011, governments around the world imposed restrictions on food imports from five Japanese prefectures-Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba. The Taiwan authorities imposed the ban in late March that year.
Yet since taking power in 2016, the DPP has been trying to lift the ban in exchange for Japan’s support for its “Taiwan independence” agenda. In fact, the DPP has lifted the ban despite a 2018 referendum in which people voted overwhelmingly to continue the ban.
Ironically, the DPP won many Taiwan residents’ support because of its anti-nuclear stance. “Use love to generate electricity” was a slogan the DPP used at the time to lure people to its side. But since coming to power six years ago, the DPP in its bid to split the island from the motherland has reneged on its anti-nuclear promise.
The lifting of the ban on Fukushima food products in a desperate attempt to boost ties with Japan to counter the Chinese mainland is an apt example of the DPP’s subterfuge.
For the same reason, the DPP accepted US conditions and resumed the import of US pork, ignoring the health hazards it poses to Taiwan residents.
The DPP believes compromising food safety to get security guarantee from the US and Japan is very cost-effective. That’s why it used every possible trick to brainwash Taiwan residents and convince them that food products from those five Japanese prefectures are not “food with radioactivity” but “food with blessing”.
Also, the DPP has been claiming that the lifting of the ban will boost Taiwan’s chances of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. In fact, Chen Chi-chung, the official in charge of the island’s agriculture, said that with the withdrawal of the ban, the island’s imports from Japan will increase by a maximum of $70 million a year while Japan’s import of Taiwan’s pineapples－18,000 tons last year and 30,000 tons this year－alone will exceed that amount.
It seems the DPP considers eating nuclear-contaminated food in exchange for exporting pineapples a good deal. The DPP’s arbitrary and anti-people decision is the result of its obscurantist and narrow policies.
Many Taiwan residents still believe in the DPP’s propaganda to the extent of blindly following its diktats even though those diktats are against their well-being and interests. Those people who voted the DPP to power for the second time only to end up eating pork with ractopamine from the US and radiation-exposed food from Fukushima are swallowing their own bitter fruits.
The DPP’s rule is nothing but a reign of terror. A party which uses the health and lives of the people as a bargaining chip in exchange for the support of anti-China forces will become more brazen in its quest to fulfill its narrow benefits. So Taiwan residents who voted for the DPP have to suffer the consequences of their choice.
The author is deputy director of the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Beijing Union University.