Prosecutors lose case on anti-nuclear protesters, Taipei Times, 18 Aug 15 By Chang Wen-chuan and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, with staff writer National Taiwan University student Hung Chung-yen (洪崇晏) and Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan convener Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴) were yesterday found not guilty on charges linked to their involvement in anti-nuclear protests in Taipei in April last year.
Prosecutors had charged Hung and Tsay with violating the Parade and Assembly Act (集會遊行法) for allegedly urging participants in the April 27 anti-nuclear protest to deviate from the route that organizers had laid out in their application for a demonstration permit and ignoring orders from Zhongxiao E Road police office chief Tsui Chi-ying (崔企英) to disband the crowd.
Some of the protesters removed the center road blocks along a section of Zhongxiao W Road in front of Taipei Railway Station and occupied both sides of the road, paralyzing traffic in the area……..http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2015/08/18/2003625629
Taiwan is working toward lifting a ban on food imports from Japanese prefectures affected by the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, but the timeline will depend on further evaluations by health authorities, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) said yesterday.
“I believe we are moving in that direction,” Lin said in response to questions on whether Taiwan is working toward lifting the ban on Japanese products from areas affected by the nuclear disaster.
Since Taiwan tightened regulations on imported Japanese food on May 15, “to date there have been no safety concerns associated with food products imported from Japan,” Lin said.
Lin said the Ministry of Health and Welfare is conducting further assessments and the government is also looking at how other countries have been dealing with the situation.
“Basically, the vast majority of countries are moving toward lifting restrictions, but we still hope that the Ministry of Health and Welfare can give a clear explanation of [the results of] its assessments at an appropriate time,” Lin said.
Even if the ban is lifted, Lin added, the new regulations implemented in May are to continue.
The new measures require Japanese food product importers to present certificates that show the place of origin of their products and radiation inspection results for certain types of products, such as tea, baby food and aquaculture products.
The new regulations were imposed after it was found in March that products from five restricted areas in Japan had made their way into Taiwan through the use of false labels.
Taiwan currently bans food imports from the Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba, which were affected by a meltdown in March 2011 after Japan was struck by a disastrous earthquake and tsunami.
Source: Taipei Times
Typhoon Soudelor toll rises to 17 in China: state media http://news.yahoo.com/typhoon-downgraded-china-killing-five-taiwan-030301544.htmlShanghai (AFP) – The number of people killed by Typhoon Soudelor in China rose to 17, state media reported on Monday, with five more missing.
Three people were killed by a mudslide and one was missing after being swept away by floods in Ningde, in the eastern province of Fujian, the Fujian Daily reported.
In neighbouring Zhejiang province 14 were killed and four were missing, the official news agency Xinhua said earlier, quoting local officials as saying that the dead and missing may have been washed away by floods or buried under ruined homes.
The total direct economic losses in the two provinces were estimated at around eight billion yuan ($1.31 billion), figures from state media showed.
Billed as the biggest typhoon of the year last week with winds of up to 230 kilometres (140 miles) an hour, Soudelor — named for a Micronesian chief — has since weakened.
It made landfall in Fujian on Saturday night after leaving six people dead in Taiwan — including two twin sisters and their mother, who had all been swept out to sea.
It also knocked out power to a record four million households on the island. [Taiwan’s nukes in danger from typhoon,too]
Some 379 people were injured by the storm in Taiwan, which saw rivers break their banks under torrential rain and towering waves pound the coastline.
The China Meteorological Administration lifted its typhoon warning Monday as the storm weakened and moved further inland.
Taiwan has announced that those companies that falsified origin labels to bypass importation regulations on Japanese foods will be banned from future importation. They could also face $100,000 USD fines for their law violations.
It was also mentioned by the same source that Hong Kong is currently one of the largest importers of Japanese food products.
Source: Food Navigator Asia
Taipei, July 22 (CNA) The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) is still in discussions with several agencies on whether to lift a ban on food imports from regions in Japan affected by a nuclear meltdown in 2011, a Cabinet spokesman said Wednesday.
Responding to a report Tuesday that Taiwan will partially lift a ban on food imports from the restricted areas, spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) said that no timetable has been set for resolving the matter and that the decision will be up to the MOHW.
The Food and Drug Administration under the MOHW said the ministry is still communicating with organizations in Taiwan and Japan and indicated that no decision has been made yet.
According to the United Daily News, Taiwan is expected to lift a ban on food imports from Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures while the ban on food items from Fukushima prefecture will remain in place.
Taiwan imposed a ban on food originating from the five Japanese prefectures after a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan’s northeastern coast on March 11, 2011, and triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
The ban was issued to protect Taiwanese consumers amid fears that foods from these areas were contaminated by radioactive substances released during the nuclear meltdown.
After products originating from the five prefectures were found in March on store shelves in Taiwan with labels disguising their origins, Taiwan decided in mid-May to tighten requirements for Japanese food imports.
Japanese food exporters were asked to provide documents showing the origin of its products and obtain radiation inspection certificates for specific items.
Japan reacted angrily to the new measures. It insisted that the food items it was exporting to Taiwan were safe and threatened to take the case to the World Trade Organization.
Japanese parliamentarian Nobuo Kishi, a younger brother of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was one of several Japanese political heavyweights who visited Taiwan and called on the country to lift the food import ban as soon as possible.
The United Daily News reported, without citing any sources, that after lengthy discussions between Taiwan and Japan, the two sides have reached a consensus in which Taipei will lift a ban on food from all of the prefectures except for Fukushima, whose name remains sensitive to Taiwanese consumers.
Source: Focus Taiwan
Authorities find fault with entry documents and compliance with customs clearance procedures
The Food and Drug Administration said that since it began strengthening inspections on Japanese food imports in March, the 24 Taiwanese companies were found to have imported 381 food product items from the five prefectures.
After the March 2011 disaster, Taiwan banned food imports from Fukushima and nearby Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi and Chiba. It has been conducting random radiation checks on nine categories of imported foods.
Among the 24 firms, 23 filed entry documents inconsistent with the products they imported and one failed to follow proper customs clearance procedures, the administration said.
Wang Te-yuan, deputy director of the FDA’s Northern Centre for Regional Administration, said firms that unwittingly imported food products from the five prefectures must report it to authorities or face punishment.
Offenders could be fined up to NT$3 million (HK$750,000) and will lose permission to import the products in question, according to the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation.
Authorities beefed up inspections after investigators found some Japanese food imports carrying Chinese labels different from the actual place of origin – a practice allowed in Japan but illegal in Taiwan.
A legislative committee passed a motion in late March tightening inspections on food products imported from Japan.
Under the new measure that came into effect on May 15, such items must carry prefecture-specific labels of origin, and some food products from certain prefectures must carry documents proving that they had passed radiation checks.
Source: South China Morning Post
Two men have been charged in Taiwan related to the importing of banned foods from Japan. Authorities in Taiwan have asked Japan to investigate the crime on their end, so far they have received no response.
At the same time Japan is being uncooperative with Taiwan, they are asking China to ease food import restrictions. Japan recently took South Korea to the WTO in an attempt to force them to remove restrictions on suspect food imports. So far there has been no indication Japan intends to do the same to China.
The higher restrictions in place in China have created an additional problem for Japan. If they are able to comply with China’s stringent documentation requirements they have little ability to claim less onerous documentation rules in other countries are too difficult to meet. ipei Times
South China Morning Post
Two business executives on Tuesday were charged with illegally importing and falsely labeling food from areas of Japan affected by its 2011 nuclear disaster.
Each a manager of a local food importer, they are accused of importing snacks and soy sauce to Taiwan from the affected areas.
Authorities said one has done so since last year, while the other began the imports this year.
Neither reported their imports to the Food and Drug Administration or Keelung Customs officials, as legally required, authorities added.
Prosecutors said the defendants knew that they were not allowed to import food products from Japan’s Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures, and intentionally hid the origin of their products from downstream firms.
Food products from those prefectures have been banned in Taiwan since the areas are suspected of radiation contamination as a result of a meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 after an earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
In March this year, authorities found that products from the five restricted areas had made their way into Taiwan under false labels.
The two managers, surnamed Teng (鄧) and Cho (卓), were charged with falsifying documents and making profits by false pretenses respectively, prosecutors said.
As for potential Japanese accomplices, prosecutors said that they have asked Japan to assist the investigation, but have not yet received a reply.
Prosecutors called on Japan to assist with the investigation to jointly protect customers’ food safety.
Source: Taipei Times
Japan food exports to Taiwan contain cesium
In the wake of the continuing Fukushima catastrophe, countries such as Korea and China are concerned that contaminated food is being exported from Japan. In a recent report by SimplyInfo.org, data from Taiwan showing food imports (primarily green tea) from Japan have contained radioactive cesium levels below Taiwan’s limit of 370 Bq/kg, but above Japan’s limit of 100 Bq/kg. The monitoring program in Taiwan is spot-checking these imports, so this contaminated tea was discovered in only a fraction of food coming from Japan, meaning additionally contaminated food could have been missed. In addition, Taiwan had already banned food from areas in Japan considered most contaminated, so this food was imported from areas in Japan considered “safe”. Taiwan tested teas that were harvested after the Fukushima catastrophe began. However, in 2011 and 2012, the US Food Drug Administration only tested tea varieties that would have been harvested in 2010, thereby having escaped contamination, making the FDA tea tests completely meaningless.
This unsettling discovery demonstrates that people in other countries are being sold food that is contaminated above Japan’s allowable limit, but below that of the receiving country—a concern that has been expressed time-and-again by Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network (FFAN) of which Beyond Nuclear is a coalition partner. While the allowable limit of radioactive cesium in Japan is 100 Bq/kg, in Taiwan it is 370 Bq/kg, and in the U.S. it is 1200 Bq/kg with no real explanation as to why, say, a pregnant woman in the U.S. should be allowed to ingest 12 times the radioactive poison of a pregnant woman in Japan. These inconsistent limits may not make biological sense, but they do make sense when taken in context of this statement by ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection–the body which generates statements governments rely on to set radiation exposure standards.) “There may be a situation where a sustainable agricultural economy is not possible without placing contaminated food on the market. As such foods will be subject to market forces, this will necessitate an effective communication strategy to overcome the negative reactions from consumers outside the affected areas.” This is the price of the continued use and catastrophic meltdowns of nuclear power.
Japan has filed a complaint with the WTO over Korean Fukushima-related import bans and additional testing requirements, demonstrating that countries trying to protect themselves from contaminated food could be facing international adjudication through the WTO. Japan told the WTO in October 2014 “more than 99 percent of food items were below standard limits, and strict measures prevented the sale or export of any food exceeding those limits.” But since measurement of food is so spotty, both from the importer and exporter, a statement like this is not only meaningless, but deceptive. Further, if every country’s contamination limits are different, in reality, there are no standard limits, no matter what the WTO or Japan contends.
If the Trans-Pacific Partnership is approved, these penalties could get a lot worse (link to Part 1 of a 5 part FFAN series on the TPP and contaminated food from Japan) and could include taxpayer compensation for corporate lost revenue due to such disputes.
But the radioisotope cesium isn’t the only concern. There is also strontium. Strontium-90 is much more difficult to measure than cesium-137. To avoid this inconvenience, strontium is often assumed or calculated to be in a ratio with cesium-137 such that a certain amount of measurable cesium would have a known accompanying smaller amount of strontium-90. Originally for contamination in Japan, strontium content was thought to be 10% of whatever the cesium-137 content was. However, after testing food in Japan, researchers have discovered that the initial ratio of strontium to cesium-137 is more than two times the amount of cesium-137. More importantly, it also means that the various country limits set for radioactive cesium in food may no longer protect from the increased health impact of the strontium-90 that may be lurking in imports from Japan.
Source : Beyond Nuclear
Japan takes South Korea to WTO over Fukushima-related food import restrictions
GENEVA – The central government launched a trade complaint at the World Trade Organization on Thursday to challenge South Korea’s import bans and additional testing requirements for Japanese food after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
South Korea expressed regret at Japan’s action and said its ban on some Japanese seafood was necessary and reflected safety concerns.
Japan says several measures taken by South Korea violate the WTO’s sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) agreement and Seoul has failed to justify its trade restrictions as required, the WTO said in a statement.
Under WTO rules, South Korea has 60 days in which to deal with Japan’s concerns in bilateral talks. After that Japan could ask the WTO to adjudicate on the matter.
“In upcoming talks with Japan, we plan to explain fully that the import ban is necessary for people’s safety, and actively deal with Japan over the issue they raised based upon WTO’s dispute settlement procedures,” South Korea’s trade, agriculture, foreign affairs and other related ministries said in a joint statement.
Details of Japan’s complaint were not immediately available, but Japan has repeatedly raised the issue in committee meetings at the WTO, where it has also voiced concerns about Fukushima-related trade restrictions imposed by Taiwan and China.
Japan’s representative told the WTO’s SPS committee in March that radioactive levels in Japanese food had declined substantially since the nuclear crisis began at Tepco’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant. It noted that the United States, Australia, the European Union, Singapore and Vietnam had all lifted or eased their Fukushima-related restrictions.
“We’ve urged the South Korean government to lift the ban, but we expect it is unlikely to be dropped quickly,” Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said in a statement on Thursday.
South Korea extended its ban on Japanese fishery imports in September 2013 to cover imports from eight Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima.
Last October, the Japanese representative at the WTO committee said contamination levels in more than 99 percent of food items were below standard limits, and strict measures prevented the sale or export of any food exceeding those limits.
South Korea’s representative told the same meeting that its restrictions were in line with WTO rules, but Japan had not provided it with sufficient data for an objective and science-based risk assessment.
Japan’s representative also cited an assessment from the International Atomic Energy Agency in September 2014, which found its measures to deal with contamination were appropriate, according to minutes of the WTO committee.
The average annual value of South Korean imports of Japanese fish and seafood was $96 million in 2012-2014, less than half the average of $213 million in 2006 through 2010, according to data from the International Trade Center in Geneva.
Source : Japan Times
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou says Taiwan’s tightened controls on food imports from Japan will only be temporary.
Taiwanese health authorities had banned food imports from Fukushima and 4 nearby prefectures in the wake of the March 2011 nuclear accident.
But it was revealed in March that some food from the prefectures was being imported to Taiwan. This prompted calls by consumer groups for stricter regulations.
The authorities further tightened their rules on food imports from Japan last Friday. The measures include requiring that all Japanese food products bound for Taiwan carry certificates proving the prefecture of origin.
President Ma stressed to reporters on Monday that priority lies on dispelling consumer fears over the labeling of food products in Japan. He described the measure as being temporary, and added that health authorities are eager to resolve the issue.
Ma expressed his readiness to ease the restrictions after authorities determine how the banned products reached Taiwanese consumers and steps are taken to prevent similar reoccurrences.
The Japanese side has been urging Taiwan to lift the tougher regulations, calling the steps scientifically groundless. Japanese food exporters have expressed the fear that the revised regulations may increase export costs and make them less competitive in Taiwan.
Taiwanese supermarkets have also voiced concern over a possible decline in the volume of Japanese food they sell.
Taiwan to ban all food imports from Japan http://fukushima-diary.com/2015/05/taiwan-to-ban-all-food-imports-from-japan/ Iori Mochizuki From 5/15/2015, Taiwan is going to ban importing all kinds of food from Japan.
Since 311, Taiwan has been banning all the food imports from 5 prefectures around Fukushima and required radiation test on over 800 sorts of food imports. On 4/16/2015, Taiwan announced the further restriction on Japanese food imports, which practically bans all food imports from Japan.
Japanese Ministry Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries states the measures of Taiwan is not based on scientific facts and suggested the possibility to appeal to WTO (World Trade Organization).
Food items from five Japanese prefectures from which imports are banned had made their way into Taiwan with the help of false labels
Japan’s WTO case a bad recipe: officials
Amid reports that Japan could challenge Taiwan’s decision to tighten regulations on imported Japanese foodstuffs at the WTO, Minister of Health and Welfare Chiang Been-huang （蔣丙煌） yesterday said that Taiwan is within its rights to take such an action.
“The new measure will be enforced as scheduled [tomorrow]. Even if Japan plans to file a case with the WTO, our action will stand up to scrutiny,” Chiang said.
“The ministry will continue to communicate with Japan and help it understand why it was necessary to tighten regulations,” he said, adding that the measures “will benefit both sides.”
The new measures were adopted after it was discovered in March that food items from five Japanese prefectures from which imports are banned had made their way into Taiwan with the help of false labels, Chiang said.
Food products from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures have been banned in Taiwan since those areas were suspected of radiation contamination the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster in March 2011.
Under the new laws, importers of Japanese food products would be required to present certificates of origin to prove that the items did not originate in the five prefectures.
For imports such as tea, baby food, and dairy and aquatic products, radiation inspection certificates are also to be required.
How measures are enforced remains to be seen, as the Food and Drug Administration （FDA） had not received any certificates of origin issued by official Japanese agencies or authorized bodies as of yesterday, Chiang said.
Japan has also not supplied a list of its inspection organizations, he said.
The FDA has inspected more than 8,000 shipments of Japanese food so far this year, agency statistics showed.
If related documents are not presented before tomorrow, items such as tea from Shizuoka and some aquatic and dairy products would not be allowed into Taiwan, officials said.
Japanese Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Yoshimasa Hayashi on Tuesday said that Japan has demanded that Taiwan retract its decision, but has yet to see any tangible progress, and that Japan has not ruled out taking the case to the WTO.
Association of East Asian Relations chairman Lee Chia-chin （李嘉進） said that he would advise Japan not to threaten to take the case to the WTO.
With such friendly bilateral relations between the two sides, he said: “We can talk about everything, but taking the case to the WTO could sour bilateral ties.”
Lee added that Taiwan is a major consumer of Japanese agricultural products and can certainly ask Japan to heed its food safety concerns.
“Once Japan has fully investigated the false labeling, Taiwan will certainly feel less pressure to impose stricter regulations,” Lee said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday confirmed that Takeo Hiranuma, a senior Japanese lawmaker and head of the Japan-Republic of China Diet Members’ Consultative Council, recently canceled a scheduled visit to Taiwan, but said that the move was not related to conflict over the planned regulations.
Ministry spokesperson Anna Kao （高安） said that Hiranuma postponed his planned visit because he was concerned that Typhoon Noul might cause travel disruptions on his way home.
Kao made the remarks in response to a report by the Chinese-language Liberty Times （the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper） yesterday saying that Hiranuma was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, but that he canceled the trip after he was told by the ministry that his visit would not change the government’s decision to implement the rules this week.（Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan）
Source: Taipei Times
FOOD FIGHT? With Taipei’s new regulations on Japanese food imports set to go into effect tomorrow, questions regarding the enforcement of such rules remain unanswered
Taiwan suspends entire food import from Japan as of May 15, 2015.
Taiwan has banned food import from 5 prefectures since the accident in 2011.(Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Chiba)
Both countries could not reach an agreement on Taiwan’s tightened restriction over Japanese imported food –
1, origin of product to be labeled on all imported food products
2. radiation test result to be attached to 800 food products in 3 categories (baby foods, seafood, tea) from specified area (like Tokyo or Shizuoka) due to the “HIGH RISK” of contamination – and Taiwan decided to stop importing any food from Japan.
協 議には、日本側から農林水産省や経済産業省の課長級も出席した。台湾は震災以降、福島など５県の食品の輸入を禁じており、（１）日本から出荷される全ての 食品に都道府県別の産地証明（２）東京都や静岡県など特定地域の水産品、茶類、乳幼児食品など３分類８００品目超の「高リスク産品」に放射線検査証明－の 添付をそれぞれ求めている。
Taiwan FDA test resutls 2011-2014
Revised US FDA alert
irresponsible to ship potentially hazardous plutonium and uranium to other countries, possibly causing environmental damage or landing the material in the hands of terrorists.
Opponents of nuclear power are now asking that Taiwan not send nuclear waste overseas.
Opposition Mounts as Taiwan Plans to Ship Nuclear Waste Offshore VOA News, Ralph Jennings May 08, 2015 TAIPEI— Taiwanese officials want to ship the island’s nuclear waste offshore as spent fuel accumulates at two older power plants, but the plan faces opposition from activists and the legislature, putting it on hold.
The two oldest of Taiwan’s three nuclear power plants are running out of space for spent fuel. The build-up of waste prompted government-run Taiwan Power Company to call in February for bids from companies overseas capable of removing the fuel, neutralizing radioactive material and helping to dispose what’s left. Firms in France, Japan, Russia and Britain are technically able to do the work, though none had tendered bids.
A month later the power company retracted its call for bids to process 1,200 bundles of spent fuel because parliament declined to approve a $367 million disposal budget. Taiwan Power spokesman Lin Te-fu said the company will try to persuade legislators again to allocate the money or risk a storage crisis at the island’s first nuclear plant……..
While some legislators believe the overseas disposal cost is too high, leaders in Taiwan’s popular movement against nuclear power cite other risks. They call it irresponsible to ship potentially hazardous plutonium and uranium to other countries, possibly causing environmental damage or landing the material in the hands of terrorists. Taiwan-based Green Citizens Action Alliance researcher Hsu Shih-ya fears the waste would contaminate foreign soil.
Hsu said the kind of disposal method proposed would cause a high level of radiation pollution surrounding the treatment plants. She said her group does not want Taiwan’s pollution to be transferred to other countries, which would be a very immoral matter.
Opposition to Taiwan’s nuclear power crested last year after more than 200,000 activists marched in the streets, leading the government later to call off plans to open a $9.3 billion fourth plant. …..
Opponents of nuclear power are now asking that Taiwan not send nuclear waste overseas. Hsu Hsin-hsin, spokeswoman for the Central Taiwan Antinuclear Action Alliance, said the plan would cost too much without answering calls to end nuclear power……. http://www.voanews.com/content/opposition-mounts-as-taiwan-plans-to-ship-nuclear-waste-offshore/2759529.html
THIS STUNNING HIGH-RISE HYDROPONIC FARM GENERATES RENEWABLE ENERGY AND REPRESENTS NEW HOPE FOR BIG CITIES ACROSS THE GLOBE [ good pics] by Rachel Oakley in Exhale on Friday 8 May 2015 To make Earth a greener place, Aprilli Design Studio got its designers together to create an incredible ecological system known as the Urban Skyfarm, for a site right in the heart of downtown Seoul.
This is not your average eco-friendly building. It’s so much more.
The Urban Skyfarm isn’t office space or apartments, but rather a complete ‘living machine’ that filters water and air, provides vegetables and herbs for the community, and produces renewable energy at the same time.
There are four major components to the Urban Skyfarm: the root, trunk, branch, and leaves.
The root section provides space for a market or public activities. The trunk can be used as a community garden space for residents. The trunk is also divided into eight individual branches (the leaf portions), which each support farming decks which are suspended from each branch by trusses and tension cables. These farming decks are spread out to receive maximum sunlight throughout the day.
Now, if that wasn’t enough, listen to this: the high rise farming system plans to operate on renewable solar and wind energy alone. Meaning, it operates completely on its own energy, and indeed provides energy to the grid…….http://www.techly.com.au/2015/05/08/this-stunning-high-rise-hydroponic-farm-generates-renewable-energy-and-represents-new-hope-for-big-cities-across-the-globe/
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