A public meeting on the Taiwan government’s plan to ease a food ban on prefectures in Japan impacted by the Fukushima disaster devolved into chaos Sunday.
Hundreds of protesters clashed with police outside the meeting. Yelling, table pounding and accusations flew inside the meeting hall. Additional protests were planned for later in the day. The groups of people protesting the plan to relax the food ban on Japanese food products expressed concern that the plan was part of trade negotiations. With the ban still in place there have been numerous high profile incidents of banned foods making it into the food supply in Taiwan. These included foods found in grocery stores and a relabeling scheme by importers to hide the origin of food products.
The plan to relax the ban is heavily dependent on the food testing and import oversight system working properly. Public confidence in those systems is already low.
The Democratic Progressive Party’s [DPP] advocacy for relaxing the ban has appeared as a flip flop from the party opposition to Taiwan’s nuclear power program. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has organized these large protests against the food ban relaxation. The party is also threatening recall moves against any politician that goes along with the food ban relaxation.
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