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Premier Lin Chuan (??) has asked that one or two more public hearings on imports of controversial Japanese food products be held and that they be streamed live, Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (???) said Wednesday.

The meetings are to be held to give people a chance to learn more about the issue, and live streaming will increase exposure of the process, including in places like Yilan County, where no public hearing has been held to date.

Taiwan has banned imports of food products from five prefectures in Japan that were contaminated with radioactive substances following the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011, a catastrophe triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.

Taiwan's government is now considering lifting the ban for food from the five prefectures except for Fukushima, but has run into heavy opposition.

The Cabinet held 10 public hearings on the safety of Japanese products around Taiwan from Nov. 12 to 14 after announcing them Nov. 10., but critics saw them as essentially being held for show to pave the way for lifting the ban.

Questions were raised about why the government seemed in such a rush to hold the hearings, and some of them ended in chaos amid protests.

Other objections have surfaced, including concerns that Japan was looking to dump unwanted food items in Taiwan.

In response to the criticism, Council of Agriculture chief Tsao Chi-hung (???) said Wednesday that Taiwan would not allow in any products that have not been approved for consumption in Japan itself.

He rejected charges that Japan was trying to use Taiwan as a dumping ground for products that could not be sold in its own country, saying that the same international standards would be applied to the food items in question.

"There is no such a thing as a Taiwan standard. It is an international standard," he said.

Tsao argued that using a "nuclear disaster" label to discuss the issue was misleading, and he stressed that if Taiwan opens up to the imports it will follow rigorous procedures and take consideration of public health.

Food imports from the Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba have been suspended in Taiwan since March 25, 2011.

Since President Tsai Ing-wen (???) assumed office in May, different Japanese groups have asked Taiwan to lift the ban on food products from the five prefectures, according to domestic news reports.

In response to a legislative committee's request on Nov. 7, the Cabinet held 10 public hearings around Taiwan from Nov. 12 to 14 on lifting a ban on Japanese food that might contain radioactive substances, but some of them ended in chaos amid protests.

Taiwan has banned imports of food products from five prefectures in Japan that were contaminated with radioactive substances following the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011, a catastrophe triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.

Taiwan's government is now considering lifting the ban for food from the five prefectures except for Fukushima, but critics have argued that authorities are trying to promote closer ties with Japan at the expense of public health.

In response to the criticism, Council of Agriculture chief Tsai Chi-hung (???) said Wednesday that Taiwan would not allow in any products that have not been approved for consumption in Japan itself.

He rejected charges that Japan was trying to use Taiwan as a dumping ground for products that could not be sold in its own country, saying that the same international standards would be applied to the food items in question.

"There is no such a thing as a Taiwan standard. It is an international standard," he said.

Tsao argued that using a "nuclear disaster" label to discuss the issue was misleading, and he stressed that if Taiwan opens up to the imports it will follow rigorous procedures and take consideration of public health.

Food imports from the Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba have been suspended in Taiwan since March 25, 2011.

Since President Tsai Ing-wen (???) assumed office in May, different Japanese groups have asked Taiwan to lift the ban on food products from the five prefectures, according to domestic news reports.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel