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Taiwan enforces stricter controls on Japanese food imports

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Taiwan on Friday imposed new restrictions on food imported from Japan after hundreds of products were recalled over fake labels that disguised they came from areas affected by the country's 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Taiwan banned Japanese food imports from five areas near Fukushima in March 2011 a few weeks after a devastating quake and tsunami triggered a nuclear meltdown at a power plant and radioactive particles were detected in some imports.

From Friday, all food imports from Japan will be required to carry certificates to prove that they are not from the five banned areas while some will also need "radiation inspection certificates", according to the Taiwan's Ministry of Health and Welfare.

In March, Taiwanese authorities recalled hundreds of Japanese food items that were to found with fake labels that hid their origins near the site of the nuclear disaster.

"The measures are necessary to protect Taiwanese consumers' health and welfare. The government and (food) companies should work together to provide safe food products," the ministry said in a statement.

Japanese food products are popular in Taiwan and the Apple Daily newspaper reported that stocks of some best-selling chocolates and pre-packaged french fries could run out in three months due to delays caused by the new requirements.

Japan has pledged to jointly investigate the false labeling case with Taiwan and urged the island to remove the new restrictions.

"Falsified labels of product origins and food safety are different issues. We will continue to let Taiwanese people understand the safety of Japanese food and hope the Taiwanese authorities can further loosen its controls," Japan's de facto embassy in Taipei said in a statement.

Taiwan and Japan maintain close trade ties even though Tokyo switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 1972.

Taiwan's government has been stepping up foods safety measures after the island was rocked by a string of food scandals in recent years.

© (c) 2015 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

85 Comments
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An utter disgrace, and of course all too predictable and why we are out of the Japanese loop except for Okinawa.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

“Falsified labels of product origins and food safety are different issues.

Well they can be unless the product is one that is both. I for one do not blame Taiwan at all, the Japanese government has taken similar steps in the past with products from a number of countries.

An utter disgrace, and of course all too predictable and why we are out of the Japanese loop except for Okinawa.

What is the disgrace? The mislabeling, the obvious attempt by exporters to circumvent rules, or Taiwan putting extra safety measures in place.

And what do you mean about being "out of the Japanese loop"?

0 ( +7 / -6 )

Falsified labels of product origins and food safety are different issues.

No, they are not.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

This morning i was thinking of problems related to Japanese Giants : Takeda, Takata, Toyo Tire, Toshiba, Toyota and now i have to add Taiwan...T stands for trouble in Tokyo.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

All food is safe in Japan. Taiwan is being picky.

-37 ( +2 / -40 )

If this is happening to products exported to Taiwan, you've just got to know labels are being falsified on products sold in Japan. I'd bet if the truth came out, it would create a huge "stinky" storm.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

All food is safe in Japan. Taiwan is being picky.**LMFAO, birdflue, foot in mouth disease, madcow, radiation contamination, food mislabeling scandals all in the last 10~15yrs. you have to be pretty brainwashed into thinking that (thanks JA) there are many countries that have almost none of problems Japan has had, eg NZ Australia. Japan needs the TPP more than she realises

14 ( +17 / -3 )

All food is safe in Japan. Taiwan is being picky.

Really? What about the crap that happened with the imported gyoza? Like wtf stated too, tainted beef from the US, and lord knows what other crap that goes on that we have no idea about.

JPGal please feel free to eat as much rice and veggies from Fukushima as you can. At least we'll all be able to see you coming from the glow!

0 ( +7 / -7 )

This is truly disgusting! And, make no mistake! A lot of the food stuffs in Japanese supermarkets are falsely labeled as well.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

This is truly disgusting! And, make no mistake! A lot of the food stuffs in Japanese supermarkets are falsely labeled as well.

You know it's kind of hard for me to understand which you find disgusting, is it the restrictions or the actions of the exporters?

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

I'll admit to a little schadenfreude last night when watching this story on the news- all these Japanese authority figures involved in government ministries and Taiwanese trade filled with impotent indignancy that someone would dare question the safety of Japanese food. But of course they can't admit that they expect unequal treatment just because the food comes from Japan, so instead they made up some lame excuses about how it's hard to fill in the forms and it's hard to say where precisely the food comes from.

I love this country, but you got to laugh at the limits some people will go to dance around putting their money where their mouth is.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

However you look at it, this is bad!

Shame on you, Japan.

And more shame on Abe.

Ultimately, it's his responsibility.

We do our food shopping at the local markets in Okinawa. That way we know what we are getting.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

False labeling has happened in Japan before.

It now seems that some Japanese people or companies are falsely labeling food products from irradiated areas and dumping them abroad.

This is a disgrace.

And if the food has been contaminated, it is an issue of food safety.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Taiwan can make their own rules as can Japan about importing food from other countries. Plenty of dodgy food imported into Japan too.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Falsified labels of product origins and food safety are different issues.

As others have said, they most certainly are not different issues. If you undermine the trust that a food is in fact from place X, then you likewise can't rely on any data/certificate/guarantee regarding safety.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Complete rubbish from the Taiwanese. Those five areas "near Fukushima" include Gunma and Chiba. Anybody stupid enough to believe that food from those areas is irradiated and a threat to their health has far more serious problems to worry about than radiation.

-15 ( +4 / -19 )

The ethics of business in the capitalist world.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Guy, you need to be doin' some readin' about Chiba, notably Kashiwa.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

japanese food companies copying chinese food companies? how can you get so low?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Only dangerous thing ihave ever seen is melanine filled chinese milk

-16 ( +1 / -16 )

Name and shame the companies, it has to be happening here as well

5 ( +6 / -1 )

hi everyone . im new to japan .. and i'll be heading to tokyo for a 2 weeks trip , does anyone know if the food in general is safe to consume? such as seafood and stuff like that?... thanks in advance :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To me the safety issue is of course a problem. But more than that, Japanese need to stop lying.

Lying is just too accepted in this culture. From family members, to friends, to work associates - the whole culture needs a revolution in the concept of telling the truth.

The fact that Japangal can say "All food is safe in Japan. Taiwan is being picky." shows exactly what I mean. False labelling is just disgusting, unethical, and ....it:s just plain lying.

Japanese of course will talk about how the food is safe. But, what I want Japanese to realise is that lying is wrong. It's just wrong.

Even if you don't care about morality - think about it. If people can say that food from Fukushima is from Kyushu, what else can they say. And if a Japanese woman can argue that there is nothing wrong with that, than sorry but I won't believe anything that Japangal says.

Because she might just lie, and think its okay.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

First of all, mislabeling of food products is appalling and those responsible should be dealt with accordingly. Secondly, Fukushima food is back to pre-3/11 levels and in this case there is nothing to worry about apart from terrible PR from people spreading unscientific scare stories.

None of that makes mislabeling food products to be right though

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

@Carlos, there are so many variables, depends on what you will be eating and where.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

There are still many areas in Fukushima where people are unable to return to live or even grow food stuffs and while the food reaching the markets is declared safe the problems will remain for many more decades.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

If there is belief in labeling BS and radioactive cover up then those who advocate this and still remain in Japan are the biggest clowns.

-5 ( +0 / -6 )

We do our food shopping at the local markets in Okinawa. That way we know what we are getting.

Really? You think you know where your food comes from? A high percentage of "fresh" fruits and vegetables come fro other places besides Okinawa. Local produce costs more by far than imported produce. So you in effect are admitting to paying more for locally produced vegetables.

The average homemaker can not afford to pay the higher prices that local producers charge and pay less, by far, for imported food. Over 60% of food that Japanese purchase is imported.

The average consumer with a family can not afford locally produced vegetables and fruits., so if you are purchasing your fruits and vegetables that are grown locally you are an elitist and think you are better than everyone else.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

@heda then let the people decide whichareas they chose to buy there food from, labeling food from Fukushima from another prefecture is morally wrong whether its irradiated or not. Yoshinoya is majority owned by the J gov which is why they source there vegetables from Fukushima. to say that the risk of radiation contamination of foods produced in Fukushima is no greater than say Fukuoka/Yamaguchi is just plain deluded

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yubaru,

Really? You think you know where your food comes from?

Yes, I do. I wonder why you feel the need to insinuate that I don't.

I know many of the farmers personally.

Local produce at the farmers' markets where we shop in Okinawa costs FAR less than the equivalent in supermarkets, JA, Co-op, etc. And the quality is MUCH higher.

And, Yubaru, I do not appreciate this:

you are an elitist and think you are better than everyone else

I am certainly not an elitist and do NOT think I am better or worse than anyone else. I am myself. I don't judge people.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

. Bad food warnings from Fukushima have been circulated through internet for years. American consumers are afraid of Japanese radiation tinted foods without inspection after the TPP.

JGov needs to enforce strict labeling guide lines to Morinaga, Meiji and many others that are avoiding to disclose SUGAR in Yogurt and drinks.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The average consumer with a family can not afford locally produced vegetables and fruits., so if you are purchasing your fruits and vegetables that are grown locally you are an elitist and think you are better than everyone else.

Or maybe, the decision to purchase local food is a personal one that has nothing else to do with anyone else. We try to purchase local as much as possible because it's harmful for the environment to ship food all over the country, much less the world. I want my kids to have a world to grow up in. Our standing in regards to others has never played a part in that decision - we started buying local back when I was a company man at the bottom of the totem.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

But but the Johnny's Jimusho boy band members eating all those delicious & perfectly safe Fukushima vegetables in the relentless ads were so convincing! Oh say it isn't so!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Fukushima produce? No, thankx.

Sad. But their products will be tainted for a long time. Fukushima Rice? Stacks & stacks of it sit In the bargain corners in supermarket chains. Why won't anyone buy it? Not even good enough for, "buta no esa"!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

globalwatcher,

And the dangerous thing about TPP is that there would be NO LABELLING.

So, you would no way of knowing what was in the stuff you were eating or where it came from.

At the local markets, I know where the fruit and vegetables come from and only eat produce in season.

6 ( +8 / -3 )

i am waiting to listen from Mr.Abe that it is under control , we are listening lie after lie on the Fukushima disaster from the Japanese officials, is food is safe/under control it is only creates doubts and doubts

4 ( +4 / -0 )

OK, let's start with something that is not in question. Taiwan and Taiwanese consumers LOVE Japanese products and Japanese foodstuff. The article states this, but my own experience bears this out.

Equally, Taiwan does not have some anti-Japan sentiment in imposing its original restrictions on selected foodstuffs in the wake of the tsunami and the Fukushima disaster. They were taking prudent measures based on the information at hand. There are those that may believe this was overly conservative and should be relaxed and that is fair enough, but if one accepts that there was/is no special desire on the part of Taiwanese authorities to restrict imports from Japan other than to protect its consumers, then one should be willing to accept that there was no ulterior motive behind these restrictions than originally stated.

The issue is as simple as this: countries set rules and regulations on the importation of foodstuffs, including labelling, and all importers have to abide by those rules. When an exporter/importer violates the rules, to include mislabelling to circumvent restrictions, it is simple. They have violated the law. And violations of the law usually result in reactive measures by the authorities.

This is not a conspiracy. Taiwan wants to ensure that the goods coming in from Japan are properly labelled, are in conformance with its regulations, and that its consumers are protected. As Japan would do if the positions were reversed.

One final note. All readers should be aware that Taiwan has experienced a rather severe series of food safety scandals over the latter part of 2014. Therefore, questions of food safety are particularly sensitive in Taiwan at present. If readers aren't familiar with this, I would suggest reading the following:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Taiwan_food_scandal

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@Yub, dude, stop being rude and chill out. People can make their own decisions without you getting excited. We too, for our young family, only purchase Okinawan foods or imported foodstuffs, from places we know. We got lots of our own veggies, too. It's the only way, no grey areas, not for our children. Let people make their choices, don't attack people because you know in the back of your mind you've made bad choices.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Taiwan is making the correct decision. The Japanese government has lost consumer trust regarding food products. The country had a serious mislabeling problem even before the Fukushima nuclear crisis. The nuclear contamination that has occurred in Japan is a real threat to public health. It is very sad to see foreigners risking their children's long-term health because they refuse to give up their lifestyles in Japan and return home. Shame on those people. The great job, money, lifestyle in Japan are not worth jeopardizing your children's health. If The country has not been contaminated with radiation, then why doesn't the Japanese government conduct a comprehensive study with an international environmental group that is trusted and prove it. The government hasn't done so because it can't prove what it wants us to believe.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

@american_bengoshi: According to your logic, more than half Europe had to be abandoned after Chernobyl. I was a kid in Italy at the time of that accident, we avoided to drink milk and eat some vegetables, that's all you can do, you can't leave a place except if the contamination is so high to the extent you would die in few hours. Be realistic. And Europe is still contamined also today. The US has its own contaminatied zones because of nuclear tests and waste. So, where are people supposed to live? On the moon?

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

wtf. If you actually read my post you would see that i said it was wrong to mislabel food. Secondly to say that food from Fukushima food is contaminated more than elsewhere is not deluded. Deluded is to think that in four years nothing has improved.

Yes Zichi parts of Fukushima are unlivable but as food isn't grown in those areas then it's not really relevant to the story is it?

its incredible how many people down voted me when I said that food from Fukushima is back to pre accident levels.

Yet it's stated as facts in renowned international scientific publications. I guess those foolish scientists have forgotten that once again the good people of JT know far more on the subject than they do.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Food scandals are everyday news everywhere, and if it's about radiation or chemical substances or other, the matter doesn't change: we eat crap on a daily basis, today. And TPP and TTIP are all for this genre of food culture. So, I don't even care anymore.

-7 ( +1 / -9 )

I don't think it's the actual fact that what goes on in Japan doesn't happen elsewhere but the fact that there's a belief that Japan and the Japanese --by some Japanese-- don't ever cheat, lie, deceive and steal like in other places where humans live. Japan is no different, good, bad, it's all here, just like anywhere, so I think some non-Japanese become particularly rabid and gleeful when the fallacy of the 'uniqueness' is exposed. More fool them, there's better things to do than feed of human fallibility just for the sake of it.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Japan is no different, good, bad, it's all here, just like anywhere, so I think some non-Japanese become particularly rabid and gleeful when the fallacy of the 'uniqueness' is exposed. More fool them, there's better things to do than feed of human fallibility just for the sake of it.

This shows I'm right about them being envious. Every normal person knows there's not a perfect country, and only envious people can feel the need to point out this obvious fact. Plus, no matter how much they bash Japan just for the sake of it, and no matter how much part of the English press tries to destroy Japanese soft power, it is really, really strong, and not because of something that Japanese government did or is trying to do...people (in my country, at least) are so heavily exposed to Japanese culture in many forms since they are young that is only natural for them being attracted to it. Also, if Japan isn't "cool", I wonder for example why in Italy tons of Chinese and Koreans continue to open Japanese restaurants and sell Japanese goods in their shops.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

The Taiwanese government is right to place severe restrictions on Japanese food imports. They want to make sure the labeling is accurate so their people don't consume food contaminated with radiation. Again, if the Japanese government is certain the country is not contaminated with radiation and everything is "hunky dory", the government can prove it to the public by jointly conducting a thorough investigation with a foreign environmental group and panel that the public trusts. Until that happens, people will not believe that everything is fine. The Japanese government can parade all of the famous people they want around Fukushima. It won't fool educated folks into believing the country is not contaminated with radiation. Only a believable scientific study will do that.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@american_bengoshi: I see you missed my point. I meant, please, tell me one place where there's not any kind of pollution or unhealthy food that could cause leukemia, because there are not many options around the world today. But I agree with you about the fact all the foreigners living in Japan, who complains about everything included how the government is handling Fukushima's accident, should leave. It makes no sense for them to remain in a country where their quality of life is so bad. If they think the government of their country of origin would be way better at handling a nuclear disaster or any other kind of problem, they should only come back home.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Oh my, a -12 rating for pointing out that Taiwan bans food not on any scientific basis, but solely on the basis of some Taiwanese guy pointing at a map of Japan and saying "Ooh, that place looks close!". Apologies for imposing on the Echo Chamber. You can all go back now to your nonstop "Fear" and "Danger".

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

And the dangerous thing about TPP is that there would be NO LABELLING.** NZ and Australia have very strict labeling standards, much more so than Japan. and we know that Japan is far from honest when it come to food safety. damn they cant even get it right on the export side.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

False labelling shouldn't happen, but it is not something that only occur here in Japan. The same happened in Europe, beef meet mixed with horse meet, false labels on horse meet and the list goes on. The Taiwanese are right to refuse/destroy that food and a better control on export from the Japanese authorities should be enforced.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Complete rubbish from the Taiwanese. Those five areas "near Fukushima" include Gunma and Chiba. Anybody stupid enough to believe that food from those areas is irradiated and a threat to their health has far more serious problems to worry about than radiation.

Maybe, but they have the right to make that decision themselves. If they want to err on the side of caution, that's their right. Mislabeling goods takes away their right to choose themselves, and the only way to ensure it doesn't happen again is to place stringent controls on the food coming in to ensure it doesn't happen again. If it does, they'd be well within their rights to ban all food from Japan.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If they want to err on the side of caution, that's their right

Erring on the side of caution is one way of looking at it. Allowing political and public relations considerations to take precedence over real world and science based evidence, thus bringing into question the integrity and credibility of your organization, is another. Who knows what the "considerations" will be next time the evidence doesn't fit the story some people want or don't want to hear.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

"Japan has pledged to jointly investigate the false labeling case with Taiwan and urged the island to remove the new restrictions."

Wow, this sure is a different tone from what was in another news article the other day, where Japanese authorities, "Refused to recognize Taiwan's decision and were even thinking of bringing a case against them to the Fair Trade Association" and other such nonsense. I'm guessing part of the reason for the change in rhetoric is the fact that they were caught red-handed, again, mislabeling. They can pull the wool very, very easily over the eyes of their own people and make laws and force feed food that may be tainted to Japanese children, but other nations simply do not have to tolerate this kind of crap from others. Now this mislabeling and the lack of the government to take it seriously has come back and bitten it in the butt, and rightly so.

It doesn't matter what Japan says -- it is Taiwan's decision, and given the deception of the exporters and the government allowing it, Taiwan is in the right 100%. When Japan finds even a HINT that beef exporters have slipped on restrictions they ban ALL beef products from the US as a result, which is good, and so they certainly have no right to question another government's decision when Japan was BLATANTLY lying (and has been for years, and years, either directly or by allowing the companies to do it).

3 ( +9 / -6 )

force feed food that may be tainted to Japanese children

REALLY? After four years you still genuinely believe this has happened despite any amount of evidence to the contrary. Fukushima is NOT Chernobyl. Japanese standards are SUBSTANTIALLY stricter than the rest of the world.

It's hilarious. You want independent international assessments. But are too lazy to seek out the results. Or too scared because they prove that few people are likely to have eaten food that exceeded strict Japanese limits on radioactive contamination. So you continue to perpetuate the myths.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

@Heda: No myth dear, just facts. There have been and are drives by local education authorities to 'Support Tohoku!' and thus provide meals to children sourced from Fukushima and other Tohoku region prefectures, they aren't given a choice, they are told to eat, with the nail that sticks out, if you know anything about Japan, being hammered down. It's a true, a fact and no easy to dismiss 'mythology'.

Fukushima Minyu News, the local paper of Fukushima Prefectural, reported that the prefectural government and its educational board had planned school lunch subsidy for using the local products from this April. The policy reflects the government's false belief that allowing children to eat the local product would sweep away the bad image on Fukushima and boost the local consumption. Nonetheless, late last year the board relaxed the limit for radioactive nuclide contained in exammined rice in school lunches. It must be difficult for the concerned parents to accept this unreasonable subsidy. One might claim at least the economic utility and health risk need to be discussed separately in Fukushima.

Fukushima School Lunches: “Local Ingredients” Half the Pre-quake Amount

According to research conducted by the Fukushima Prefectural Board of Education, it was found, as of February 24th 2013, that the percentage of local ingredients used in school lunches in Fukushima Prefecture had dropped to 18.3% in the current school year - down to nearly half the amount before the Tohoku earthquake. This figure strongly reflects the profound anxiety over radioactive materials associated with Tokyo Electric’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident; even whilst a system has been established for detecting radioactive materials during the handling of lunch materials and in the distribution of school lunches. Under these circumstances, the Fukushima Prefectural Board of Education as well as Fukushima Prefecture intends to support the city, town or village that is prepared to go back to using local materials for its school lunches. Moreover, they will attempt to gain the support of parents in the new school year. The Fukushima Prefectural Board of Education carried out the research at school cafeteria kitchens of elementary and middle schools, etc. twice a year: during the first semester in June and during the last semester in November, to come up with these percentages for local ingredients used in school lunches, and the average values of these numbers. They will conduct this research each year. The average amount was 36.1% in 2010. The amounts in recent years have been roughly 35%, relatively high in comparison with the national level. Although research was not carried out last year due to the earthquake disaster, the drop in percentages has been significant over the last two years.

Their children, their lives they have the right to a choice.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Not entirely sure of your point. The myth is the food is contaminated. The myth is the food is dangerous. The facts are that few people are likely to have eaten food that exceeded strict Japanese limits on radioactive contamination.

This is understood through extensive scientific research.

There is fear. But it's not based on any science whatsoever.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Not sure what the point is? That it ISN'T a myth.

"Buy our products, we'll give you money as you feed the children" and if you don't know by now that where there's money there's dirt, then you are incredibly naive:

https://www.pref.fukushima.lg.jp/uploaded/attachment/73902.pdf

It is not irrational, people have a right to choose and if you have children, you wouldn't risk even the chance of them consuming food containing radionuclides that cause cancers. You rationalise with 'few people', that is unacceptable if one of those 'few' is your child, loved one. You have YOUR choices and your approach, good, well done, other have theirs. Respect that.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It's a myth that the food from Fukushima is contaminated.

http://www.nature.com/news/fukushima-data-show-rise-and-fall-in-food-radioactivity-1.17016

few people are likely to have eaten food that exceeded strict Japanese limits on radioactive contamination.

The safety effort has been commended for being very effective. It also produced a vast database.

Combined with the fact that people need to eat huge amounts of above-limit food to exceed the annual permitted radiation dose, the chance of anyone exceeding it was very low, he says.

That conclusion fits with several studies, including one done in 20132 that showed that only members of the public who bypassed the monitoring by eating home-grown food — four older residents — showed any elevated radiation levels, and these soon returned to normal when eating food that had been regulated.

After six weeks in the region eating only local produce, drinking only tap water and maximizing his intake of the foods that tend to accumulate the highest volumes of radioactive elements, a scan revealed no traces of radioactivity in his body.

So yes, it's absolutely a myth to suggest that Japanese children have been force fed food that may be contaminated.

International. Independent research. But I do appreciate that the good people of JT are much better qualified to comment than some poxy scientists.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

It's not a myth.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

So Mr. Truth. Perhaps you could explain what research you've done than those listed in Nature. The highly regarded international science publication that's been peer reviewed.

I wonder what research you've got that dispels their work? Wonder how many hours you've spent trawling through data or carrying out tests.

And let's just remember that Japanese limits are substantially lower than the rest of the world. Let's remember that when Fukushima rice finally reached Japanese limits, it would have reached European and US limits years ago.

So Mr. Truth. What's your evidence that the food from Fukushima is contaminated. What's your evidence that more than a few people (NONE OF THEM CHILDREN) have ingested more than the safe limit?

Just wondering.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Erring on the side of caution is one way of looking at it. Allowing political and public relations considerations to take precedence over real world and science based evidence, thus bringing into question the integrity and credibility of your organization, is another.

It's still their right to make that decision, regardless of the scientific basis behind it. It's not Japan's right to make the decision for them by mislabeling products. When you consider that Japan has exercised this right on more than one occasion with food from other countries (anyone remember when they canceled all beef imports from the US because a bit of spinal tissue was found in some beef?), the point is even more poignant. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I'd agree with Strangerland that Taiwan absolutely have the right to refuse the importing of food for whatever reason. Just as Japan did with the US. That it's based on no science doesn't change that.

But whoever was responsible for mislabeling the food should be sacked and potential face criminal proceedings.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

It's not a myth that radionuclides are causers of cancer when they sit in tissue, happily radiating away, it's not a myth that areas of Tohoku and Kanto were contaminated and your seemingly desperate desire to partition the very complex issue into black and white simply doesn't run, you obviously for one, don't have children. You're missing these dynamics in your back and white approach:

In Japanese, there are two words commonly used to describe food safety: anzen (foods ̳proven to be safe‘ for consumption in a scientific sense) and anshin (foods one ̳feels at ease‘ consuming). In an attempt to uphold the integrity of the national food system following the FD1-NPP disasters, the Japanese national government took action to prove foods were anzen through the creation of provisional regulations and measurement protocols for radioactive materials found in food and drink. However, these regulations did not give everyone a sense of anshin, as some consumers began avoiding foods from some prefectures, such as Fukushima and some concerned consumer groups began speaking out against the government‘s food safety policies and regulations. In response to this trend, the national government became involved in rigorous campaigns to educate citizens on the health effects of radiation exposure and to promote the consumption of products from the most fallout-stricken areas to end what they refer to as fuhyouhigai ( ̳financial damage due to harmful rumors or misinformation‘)

The knowledge deficit model in risk communication describes the tendency for experts to view the public‘s food safety concerns as ―excessive, or unwarranted, or irrational‖ because they lack adequate knowledge on the subject at hand (Hansen et al., 2003 p.111; Hilgartner, 1990.). However, empirical research points to the contrary, indicating that assessments by the public are ―complex, situationally sensitive expressions of personal value systems,‖ and, in this nature, the public incorporates scientific data into their personal risk assessments in ways very different from experts (Hansen et al., 2003 p.111). Additionally, compared to calculated risks made by experts, consumer risk perceptions are usually influenced more by hazard characteristics they assign to certain risks. In the case of nuclear power, these characteristics include unfamiliarity, low controllability and severity (in relation to health effects) (Slovic, 1987). Successful risk communication is, therefore, able to overcome the knowledge deficit model‘s one- way transfer of information from ̳knowledgeable‘ experts to the ̳ignorant‘ public, instead aiming to further understand and incorporate the public‘s concerns and values into policies and messages.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Sorry. Did you read the research from Nature. It's not a myth that radionuclides cause cancer. However they need to be at certain levels. Levels which are substantially above the levels found in Japanese food.

None of your links are relevant to the data from February 2015 which shows that Fukushima food is safe. And that few people will have eaten sufficient to cause further health issues.

It's not a myth that consumers have no confidence in the government's claims. However when the international scientists demonstrate that those claims are correct then perhaps people should have a rethink.

Four years on and none of the fears have come true and claims that children may have been force fed contaminated food are a joke.

We want foreign independent research and when it's published it's apparently wrong.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

It is possible to measure over 300 radionuclides in food products following a nuclear emergency

(IAEA, 2011). However, food safety regulations usually deal with only a few of these including Cs-134, Cs-137, I-131, Sr-90 and Pu-239. Table A1 in Appendix A depicts some of the main characteristics of these radionuclides which are expanded upon below. Each of these radionuclides has a physical half life which describes the amount of time it takes for its activity to decrease to one-half of its original value (ATSDR, 2010), and a hazardous life (at least ten to twenty half-lives) which describes the amount of time it takes for the original radioactivity to decay to 1/1000 or 1/1,000,000 of its original state (NIRS, 2009). Hazardous lives can vary from minutes or days, to thousands of years (for example, the hazardous life of I-131 is 80-160 days, Cs-134 20-40 years, Cs-137 300-600 years, and Pu-239 244,000-488,000 years). In addition, these radionuclides can incorporate themselves into plants, animals and human bodies because they mimic basic elements such as K (Cs-134 and Cs-137), I (I-131), Ca (Sr-90), and Fe (P-239). Radionuclides with alpha (α) (Pu-239) and beta (β) (Cs-134, Cs-137, I-131, Sr-90) emissions are of particular concern for food safety because, when ingested, they can possibly become lodged in different parts of the body and irradiate nearby cells (NDDHRC, s.a.).

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Heda_Madness: "REALLY? After four years you still genuinely believe this has happened despite any amount of evidence to the contrary. Fukushima is NOT Chernobyl. Japanese standards are SUBSTANTIALLY stricter than the rest of the world."

Yeah, right... and hence the CONSTANT mislabeling scandals in this country, and idiocy with politicians wanting to feed the food to ambassadors to "prove it's safe" on top of force-feeding, which has been proven by posters above despite your back tracking and saying it's suddenly irrelevant!, it to children. Doh!

"Not entirely sure of your point."

That you were dead wrong.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Dead wrong that international scientists have proven that Fukushima produce's radiation levels are at the level that they were pre March 2011. Or dead wrong that few people will have ever eaten sufficient to cause health problems.

What is dead wrong is to suggest that children are being forced contaminated food.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Heda_Madness: "What is dead wrong is to suggest that children are being forced contaminated food."

There's nothing wrong with saying they are -- however, it IS dead wrong to say they are not, which is what you said, along with suggesting mislabeling causes no harm.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I have said that mislabelling of food is 'appalling'. I've also said that those responsible shold be held accountable.

I have said that they are not being force fed contaminated food and I have also presented international scientific research to show that the food is not contaminated.

What you have done is however repeat a non scientific argument with no proof whatsoever.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

When someone continue to defend so insistently the Nuclear ( Atomic ) power and ongoing crisis, one should have no doubt who that someone ' work ' for. Agents, paid bloggers, used by Gov. and corporations to confuse and influence the public opinion. "You may already have come across people who display some or all of the following behaviours:

Forum sliding: posting multiple times so that a sensitive topic gets pushed down the thread – ‘out of sight, out of mind’ Consensus cracking: making a post with a very weak premise, then following the post with convincing-looking evidence and disinformation. Uninformed readers are more likely to come round to the original poster’s position Topic dilution: making plenty of irrelevant postings to the same thread and distracting other posters from the topic at hand."

They are so many problems related to Fukushima, and if the common people would know the whole truth, the panic and rage would have extreme consequences for those who have strong interest to control the masses. let's hear some people who do care : Fukushima: Impossible to Remove Melted Fuel & More Problems https://youtu.be/QHu4uFSs_2w

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I think this topic says pretty much everything.

I have posted quotes from a leading science publication. Based on peer reviewed research carried out by different international scientists.

This has led to accusations of being misinformed and the usual well he must work for the nuclear industry etc. its quite remarkable that despite all the evidence to the contrary, all of the scientific research, all of the facts. There are still those who are determined to make this worse than it is.

Perhaps someone could explain why the research published in nature is so wrong and using actual scientific evidence that proves that few people have eaten food that will lead to health problems and the produce in Fukushima is back to pre-March levels.

So many accusations. Not a single piece of evidence to counter it.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

And more shame on Abe. Ultimately, it's his responsibility.

Literally 'it's George Bush's fault' tier.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Heda_Madness: The "Nature" publications haven't proven that Japan is not contaminated with nuclear radiation. To the contrary, the Nature publications you keep mentioning have proved the opposite, that the country is awash in radiation. Did you really think none of us when find and read the findings? You must work for the Japanese government.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Thanks for the link to the Nature article Heda, very comforting for consumers of Fukushima produce.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

It is possible to measure over 300 radionuclides in food products following a nuclear emergency

(IAEA, 2011). However, food safety regulations usually deal with only a few of these including Cs-134, Cs-137, I-131, Sr-90 and Pu-239. In Japan, only one of those has been constantly made 'the news'. Do the math and when BOE do "Let's Eat For Fukushima" drives, initially without parents consent, when Tochigi is demanding schools send their trips to the region, when JA is even been taken on by the government due to its monopoly of power... money always trumps health, just ask the people of Minamata.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Britlover

It is possible to measure over 300 radionuclides in food products following a nuclear emergency

(IAEA, 2011). However, food safety regulations usually deal with only a few of these including Cs-134, Cs-137, I-131, Sr-90 and Pu-239. In Japan, only one of those has been constantly made 'the news'.

The first 4 are of main concern, and the first 3 can travel much farther than the last 2. Other radionuclides will disperse with the first 3, and so detecting the Caesiums and Iodine-131 will indicate the presence of other radionuclides.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

No American bengoshi, I expected everyone to read it. I expected everyone to read that food from Fukushima was safe to eat and that few people would ever have eaten sufficient food contaminated food to cause health threats.

I also expected that the people of JT would have read this international, peer reviewed research and seen it as a positive. Yet that doesn't seem to be the case.

So instead of marking down the work of the international scientists perhaps someone could provide some scientific evidence that disputes it.

Because I'm at a loss to understand how the food from Fukushima being back to pre-march 11 levels is anything other than a positive.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Wow... in record fashion I'm already -4 for an article that states:

confirms what multiple studies of Fukushima residents have already shown: few people are likely to have eaten food that exceeded strict Japanese limits on radioactive contamination.

the fact that people need to eat huge amounts of above-limit food to exceed the annual permitted radiation dose, the chance of anyone exceeding it was very low, he says.

That conclusion fits with several studies, including one done in 20132 that showed that only members of the public who bypassed the monitoring by eating home-grown food — four older residents — showed any elevated radiation levels, and these soon returned to normal when eating food that had been regulated.

After six weeks in the region eating only local produce, drinking only tap water and maximizing his intake of the foods that tend to accumulate the highest volumes of radioactive elements, a scan revealed no traces of radioactivity in his body. “I was convinced that the radioactivity levels in my body would be very low, but I was surprised that no artificial radioactivity was detectable at all,” he says.

Obviously. I have clearly misunderstood this research and the fact radioactivity in Fukushima's food has now returned to pre-accident levels this is obviously terrible news for everyone.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

There is a question of trust.

Some Japanese people have been lying about the origin of food coming from Japan. They have been deceiving the Taiwanese people.

Maybe consumers in other countries have also been deceived by these Japanese people.

It really is a despicable crime.

And the effect is that people lose trust.

People in other countries will wonder... "If some Japanese are lying about food origins, perhaps other Japanese are lying about the results of food safety tests... "

That's a natural reaction and Japanese people would surely think the same way if the shoe was on the other foot.

In this case, instead of getting angry and threatening Taiwan, Japanese officials should be saying things such as "We will do our best to restore trust in Japanese food..."

I don't hear them saying that.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I got my rad dose but in 2011 like everyone else in Japan :) What difference will a little more in my cabbage make?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Heda_Madness

Wow... in record fashion I'm already -4 for an article that states:

I think you have to wear those minuses with pride Heda, lots of people just don't like science - especially that which contradicts widespread beliefs.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@Clueless: Truly. It may be fine for you to take such an approach, but within the human species there are these people we refer to as 'children', maybe you've seen them, or not, certainly more difficult to find in Fukushima as they are stuck inside day after day not playing outside, getting stressed and over weight, still wearing masks and having to follow predetermined routes to and from places so as to keep away from contaminated areas... anyway, enjoy your cabbage.

http://widerimage.reuters.com/story/fukushimas-children

0 ( +3 / -3 )

All readers back on topic please. Posts that do not focus on the story will be removed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Vik: Yes, and that's all it takes to cause serious and life threatening health issues in, notably, children. Have a nice day.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Notice this afp wire story from afp bureau in taiwan refers to taiwan as an island and not as a nation . Why is that?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good job Taiwan. Teach these dishonest Japanese a lesson.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

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