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Nuclear corruption – this time it’s Taiwan

December 3, 2020 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Taiwanese protest plan to dump water from Japan nuclear plant into sea

November 21, 2020 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear, Taiwan, wastes | Leave a comment

Taiwan furthers its departure from nuclear power, with more unused fuel rods sent back to USA

More fuel rods at fourth nuclear power plant sent back to U.S. https://focustaiwan.tw/society/202010210027

(By Flor Wang and Wang Chao-yu)  10/21/2020 Taipei, Oct. 21 (CNA) More fuel rods at a mothballed nuclear power plant in New Taipei were shipped back to the United States on Wednesday as part of government to honor its promise to make Taiwan nuclear-free by 2025.efforts

Five or six trucks carrying an unknown number of unused fuel rods from the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant arrived at Keelung Port in the early hours and were then loaded into several containers that departed for the U.S. at around noon.

However, the authorities in charge did not disclose whether this is the last batch of fuel rods being sent back to America.

A Legislative Yuan resolution that was passed in 2018 demands that state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) must send back all 1,744 unused fuel rods from the plant to America by the end of this year.

Taipower has said the task will cost NT$700 million (US$24.1 million).

In July 2018, the first batch of 160 rods was transported back to its U.S. supplier — Global Nuclear Fuel Americas, LLC — which was followed by three more similar operations as of August 2019, the Taipei-based China Times reported on Tuesday.

On Oct. 15, Atomic Energy Council Minister Hsieh Shou-shing (謝曉星) said 240 fuel rods at the power plant were still waiting to be transported to the U.S. — a delay caused by travel restrictions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, disposing of the 1,744 fuel rods from the plant could save about NT$100 million in maintenance costs per year.

The government has spent NT$283.8 billion on building the plant in New Taipei’s Gongliao District, but it has been mothballed since 2014 due to public concern over the use of nuclear power.

 

 

October 22, 2020 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics international, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Taiwan environmentalists mark Chernobyl nuclear disaster anniversary, call for renewables not nuclear

Anniversary of Chernobyl sees anti-nuclear appeals. https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2020/04/28/2003735431

Two environmental groups issued online statements over the weekend to mark the 34th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on Sunday and call for the abolition of nuclear power in Taiwan.

The government should bolster safety mechanisms at the nation’s nuclear power plants, safely handle nuclear waste and educate the public on the risks of nuclear energy ahead of a referendum next year on whether to resume work on the mothballed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, the National Nuclear Abolition Action Platform wrote on Facebook on Saturday.

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, which was caused by an explosion at the plant’s No. 4 reactor during maintenance, resulted in several thousand deaths, and the area around the plant would remain uninhabitable long into the future, it said.

The anniversary of the 1986 disaster should highlight the dangers of using nuclear power, it added.

Taiwan’s three operating nuclear power plants have been in operation for nearly 40 years, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union wrote on Facebook on Sunday.

“Can the plants still safely operate, or should they be decommissioned? Policies on the plants are a major compromise between power needs and hopes for decommissioning,” it said.

Some people are concerned that the plants could be contaminating the air or the water supply, it added.

Radioactive waste from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster in Japan has still not been completely cleaned up, showing that coping with nuclear disasters is beyond human capability, the union said.

The dangers of nuclear power — as evidenced by the atomic bombs used in World War II, and the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters — should not be overlooked in favor of the economy’s demand for power, it said.

The government should focus its efforts on energy transformation and push for the development of renewable energy, it added.

There is a pressing need to combat climate change, but nuclear power is not a viable alternative, the union said.

“There is a cheaper, faster and safer option to reduce carbon emissions, and that is for the government to put all of its effort into energy efficiency and the development of sustainable energy,” it said.

April 28, 2020 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Taiwan searches for a solution to its nuclear waste problem

Searching for a Permanent Storage Solution https://topics.amcham.com.tw/2020/02/permanent-storage-solution/

BY TIMOTHY FERRYON FEBRUARY 19, 2020  Permanent storage in deep geological repositories is the current international standard for final disposal of nuclear waste, but in practice this solution has so far proven extremely difficult to accomplish.

The U.S. government has de-funded its deep geological repository at Yucca Mountain, and most nations have yet to begin development of similar facilities. Finland is the closest to successfully completing deep geological repository. Its Onkalo site is now in the final approval stage, and should begin accepting nuclear waste early in this decade.

Executives from U.S. startup Deep Isolation visited Taiwan last fall with an innovative solution that could serve as either interim or permanent storage. Deploying technologies developed in the oil and gas industry, it would use directional drilling approximately 1 kilometer deep and then another kilometer horizontally. The spent fuel would then be lowered down the borehole inside nickel-chromium-molybdenum alloy canisters.

Developed by University of California at Berkeley physicist Richard Muller, the solution is based on proven technologies. The canisters can even be retrieved. The company has yet to utilize the technology in an actual case, though, and Taipower may be wary of being first in the world to implement it.

In the meantime, Taiwan is continuing a search for its own site for a deep geological depository. The Atomic Energy Council hopes to have a site ready by 2055.

For now, however, the focus is on developing interim solutions for the spent fuel in the cooling pools. Both New Taipei City and Taipower are optimistic that solutions can be found.

“The election is over and the noise is quieting down, so maybe now will be a better time to solve the issue,” says Edward H.C. Chang (張學植), director of Tai-power’s Department of Nuclear Backend Management.

February 20, 2020 Posted by | Taiwan, wastes | Leave a comment

Taiwan govt to give $2.55 billion to Orchid Island in nuclear waste compensation

Orchid Island to get NT$2.55 billion in nuclear waste compensation,  Focus Taiwan,  (By Flor Wang, Elaine Hou, Lu Tai-cheng  Taipei, Nov. 22 (CNA) The government will pay NT$2.55 billion (US$83.6 million) to Orchid Island residents to compensate them for infringing on their rights by maintaining a nuclear waste storage facility there over the past five decades, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced Friday.

Tsai announced the compensation at a news conference in Taitung and hailed the move as reflecting the goal of the current government to pursue transitional justice for indigenous tribes based on fact-finding efforts.

“Evidence we collected showed that the then-government decided to build a nuke waste storage in reserved lands for the Yami people on Orchid Island without their previous knowledge or agreement,” Tsai said.

She described the payment as a step toward compensating Orchid Island and its people, but said there was still a lot to do to “correct our past errors.”

The decision to position the facility to handle low- and medium-level nuclear waste from Taiwan’s nuclear power plants on Orchid Island was made in 1974 and it began receiving shipments in 1982.

The process has long been recognized as deceptive, with a report titled “Orchid Island: Taiwan’s Nuclear Dumpsite” in the newsletter Nuclear Monitor in 1993 detailing how residents were led to believe a cannery was being built.

The Executive Yuan brought up historical documents showing that former President Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) and Premier Sun Yun-suan (孫運璿) went ahead with the decision to build the facility without informing the local Yami people in advance.

Since residents realized in the late 1980s what was actually on the site, they have feared it would contaminate the food chain and force them off the island and also led protests against nuclear power……http://m.focustaiwan.tw/news/aipl/201911220023.aspx

November 23, 2019 Posted by | politics, Taiwan, wastes | Leave a comment

Drones a threat to nuclear facilities

Korea Times 6th Oct 2019, National infrastructure sites are vulnerable to possible drone strikes, with a growing number of intrusions at nuclear power plants here using the small unmanned aircraft being confirmed, according to a lawmaker, Sunday.
Rep. Lee Sang-min of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) said the
Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) reported 13 cases of the
illegal flying of drones near the power plants from 2015 to 19. Ten of the
13 cases occurred just in 2019 ― and six took place near the Kori Nuclear
Power Plant in northern Busan in August.
https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2019/10/133_276717.html

Bulletin of Atomic scientists 4th Oct 2019, A terrorist attack by swarming drones may seem farfetched, and it is important not to engage in hyperbole. However, scenarios similar to this are playing out around the world, often in a hostile manner. Once again, the recent attacks on Saudi Arabia should give pause for concern. At least 18 drones and seven cruise missiles were reportedly used to break through national defenses and strike the designated targets in Abqaiq and Khurais.
The use of these systems in swarms makes tactical sense, as it increases
the likelihood of a successful strike, by overwhelming and saturating
defenses. Drones may also be used to help identify targets, allowing
secondary systems to strike with precision. In a different, but not
unfamiliar manner, swarms have been used for saturation, spotting, and
strike purposes by both criminal gangs and terrorists.

https://thebulletin.org/2019/10/the-dark-side-of-our-drone-future/

October 10, 2019 Posted by | safety, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Taiwan about to close second nuclear reactor

Taiwan to shut down 2nd nuclear reactor within days, July 12, 2019 (Mainichi Japan) TAIPEI (Kyodo) — Taiwan’s Atomic Energy Council agreed on Friday to shut down a second nuclear reactor on Monday when its 40-year operating license expires, moving the island a step closer to nuclear-free status.

July 13, 2019 Posted by | politics, Taiwan | Leave a comment

No to nuclear power: Taiwan’s president reaffirms anti-nuclear stance

Taiwan’s president reaffirms anti-nuclear stance at march  https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190428/p2g/00m/0in/056000c, April 28, 2019 (Mainichi Japan) TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Saturday reaffirmed her opposition to nuclear power before marching with anti-nuclear protesters, reviving an issue that has proven politically divisive in the past.

April 29, 2019 Posted by | politics, Taiwan | Leave a comment

$70 billion price tag for restarting Taiwan’s No. 4 nuclear plant project , and that’s not counting wastes costs

Restarting No. 4 nuclear plant project could cost NT$70 billion: AEC Focus Taiwan, 2019/03/14   Taipei, March 14 (CNA) It could cost an estimated NT$60-70 billion (US$1.94-2.26 billion) and take at least 10 years to revive the mothballed fourth nuclear power plant at Longmen in New Taipei’s Gongliao District, Atomic Energy Council (AEC) Minister Hsieh Shou-shing (謝曉星) said Thursday.

However, Hsieh said that a decision to search for a final disposal repository for radioactive waste has not been reached and he declined to answer the question of when the location of a final repository can be determined, because no cities or counties in the country are willing to have such a facility in their localities.

Hsieh was responding to a legislator’s questioning about restarting the nuclear plant project during a legislative hearing, as the topic has sparked considerable debate after pro-nuclear energy activists recently proposed a referendum on the issue……..

 the ministry also cited Taipower estimates that it would require about NT$47.8 billion to revive the nuclear plant and put it into commercial operation, adding that the amount could be even higher than that.

(By Liu Lee-jung and Evelyn Kao) http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aeco/201903140013.aspx

March 16, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Taiwan conference urges phasing out of nuclear power

Lee Yuan-tseh pushes nuclear phase-out http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2019/03/12/2003711332  By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter Local industries should upgrade their production techniques to curb carbon emissions, and the nation should phase out nuclear power to avoid leaving more nuclear waste to future generations, former Academia Sinica president Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) told an energy conference in Taipei.The conference was hosted by the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU) and other anti-nuclear groups, following another energy forum on Sunday organized by former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and former premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) that called for maintaining nuclear power.

Advocates of nuclear power have gained more momentum after most people voted in favor of abolishing the “nuclear-free homeland by 2025” policy in a referendum on Nov. 24 last year.

Attendees — including Democratic Progressive Party Legislator-at-large Chen Man-li (陳曼麗) and New Power Party Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) — first prayed for victims of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster on March 11, 2011.

Phasing out nuclear power is not only a security concern, but would also curb nuclear waste, said Lee, Taiwan’s first Nobel laureate in chemistry in 1986, adding that the older generation should not leave nuclear waste to future generations for their own convenience.

The nation needs to develop small-scale renewable energy generation systems to curb fossil fuel pollution and global warming, he said.

The global community might start tracking companies’ carbon footprints in two or three years, so local firms should start cutting their use of fossil fuels, he said, reiterating his suggestion that the government implement a carbon tax to curtail emissions.

The TEPU is working on two referendum proposals, including one recommending that the mothballed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant compound be converted into a site for renewable power research and development, union founding chairman Shih Shin-min (施信民) said.

The second proposal asks: “Do you agree that any construction or extended operation plans for nuclear power plants can only begin after they are approved by local referendum voters within the 50km-radius of the plants?”

The proposals are aimed at countering two referendum proposals by nuclear power advocates that seek to continue construction of the mothballed plant and to extend the permits of three operational nuclear power plants, Shih said.

The annual parade against nuclear power is scheduled for April 27, which would focus on renewable power development, Green Citizens’ Action Alliance deputy secretary-general Hung Shen-han (洪申翰) said.

Separately, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) wrote on Facebook that the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster pushed Taiwanese to seriously consider energy issues and the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration to mothball the plant.

While people hold varied views about when the nuclear-free homeland policy should be achieved, it is the nation’s common goal to ensure that the next generation has safe power generation, Tsai wrote.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | politics, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Taiwan to abolish nuclear power in 2025

Nuclear power to be abolished in 2025 http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2019/02/01/2003709035

REFERENDUM No. 7:The government is to bar capacity expansions at coal-fired power plants and abide by local governments’ tightened environmental regulations

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday published a revised national energy strategy that calls for the abolition of nuclear power by 2025 and reductions in the use of fossil fuels.

Although Taiwanese in November last year voted against the government’s 2025 deadline to abolish nuclear power, the energy source would still be completely removed from the nation’s energy mix after that year due to inevitable constraints, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) told a news conference in Taipei.

Resistance from local governments, difficulty in procuring replacement parts for aging reactors, finding storage space for spent fuel rods and the inability to complete the stay-of-decommissioning application process have all but ruled out the use of nuclear power beyond 2025, Shen said.

Other remedies, such as reactivating decommissioned nuclear plants, are also unlikely due to the lengthy budget approval process at the legislature, Shen said, adding that General Electric Co is no longer able to provide technical support for reactors that were installed decades ago.

As for referendum No. 7, which called for the reduction of thermal power by at least 1 percent per year on average, Shen said that the goal is achievable this year and next year.

Achieving the goal would not increase the risk of energy shortages and 15 percent reserved power generation capacity could be maintained, he said.

However, energy shortages could happen in 2021 due to an anticipated rise in consumption, Shen said.

Resistance from local governments, difficulty in procuring replacement parts for aging reactors, finding storage space for spent fuel rods and the inability to complete the stay-of-decommissioning application process have all but ruled out the use of nuclear power beyond 2025, Shen said.

Other remedies, such as reactivating decommissioned nuclear plants, are also unlikely due to the lengthy budget approval process at the legislature, Shen said, adding that General Electric Co is no longer able to provide technical support for reactors that were installed decades ago.

As for referendum No. 7, which called for the reduction of thermal power by at least 1 percent per year on average, Shen said that the goal is achievable this year and next year.

Achieving the goal would not increase the risk of energy shortages and 15 percent reserved power generation capacity could be maintained, he said.

However, energy shortages could happen in 2021 due to an anticipated rise in consumption, Shen said.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | politics, Taiwan | Leave a comment

The pitfalls of Direct Democracy- Taiwan’s referendum and the vote on nuclear power

How Direct Democracy Went Nuclear in Taiwan, A contentious vote on Taiwan’s nuclear future showed how the country’s public referendums went haywire. The Diplomat , By Nick Aspinwall, January 18, 2019 It only took one month for Huang Shih-hsiu, a 31-year-old nuclear energy advocate, to upend a core energy policy of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. The policy, prior to its downfall, stated that Taiwan would decommission its three active nuclear power plants by 2025.

It makes for an entangled web of policy which, ideally, a direct democracy would sort out through a patient and measured process of public debate, consultation with experts, and consensus-building to avoid polarization and finger-pointing. Everyone does seem to agree on one thing, however: This did not happen in Taiwan.

Will the World Learn From Taiwan?

Matt Qvortrup, a professor of political science at Coventry University and leading referendum expert, has watched referendums surge in popularity throughout Europe and, gradually, to corners of the world like Taiwan, whose large-scale plebiscites provided lessons for global democracies in what, or what not, to do.

Qvortrup is a believer in referendums, but with conditions. “Democracy is discussion and deliberation,” he says, and that does not happen when voters are rushed to the polls. “To have meaningful democracy,” he says, “you need to have time to debate things.” Taiwan’s CEC-sanctioned TV debates were held in a cramped three-week window – five public forums each for 10 referendum questions.

He noted that debate on the high-interest issue of same-sex marriage dominated much of Taiwan’s already congested pre-referendum discourse, drowning out interest in the intricacies of energy policy. “That’s bad, because people will be voting on things they haven’t had the opportunity to talk about,” Qvortrup says.

Chao of RSPRC agrees, saying there was far from enough time for voters to have an informed debate. Shortly after the referendum, his center published a study showing that voters were not informed on nuclear power – most were unaware of the details of Tsai’s phaseout proposal, and 44 percent believed nuclear power provides most of the island’s energy. (It produces just over 8 percent, far behind coal-fired power.)

“For democracy to work, it has to be limited to relatively few issues,” says Qvortrup. “If you have too many issues on the ballot, people just get saturated. They turn off, they can’t be bothered. You need to save up your civic reserves.”

Taiwan’s nuclear power plebiscite was not even the only energy-related measure on the ballot: Two separate measures, both successful, called for Taiwan to reduce thermal power and stop expansion of coal-fired power plants. A measure to maintain Taiwan’s ban on food imports from the Fukushima disaster area also passed, angering Japan.

The team at Cofacts, a collaborative social media fact-checking platform that monitored online discussion leading up to the referendums, says it observed a combination of disinformation and voter apathy ahead of the energy plebiscites. “In comparison to other issues, nuclear power was one of the less popular topics,” writes Rosalind, a Cofacts editor, in an open response to questions from The Diplomat. “Even when people talked about it, they were actually talking about air pollution, reducing thermal power generation plants, new alternative energy, and polluted foods.” This did not allow voters to consider the nuances of the issues, such as whether Taiwan does in fact face a looming electricity shortage, says Rosalind.

“The people wanted to be on the ‘winning’ side of these yes/no questions, even though most of them did not know the referendum topics until the day of the election,” says Cofacts founder Johnson Liang. He notes that online discussion on nuclear power paled in comparison to talk of the same-sex marriage referendums. “There were way too many topics to vote [on] within a timespan that is too short, and they did not have time to follow the television debates.”

It takes a resonant message to cut through an overload of information and mangled discourse, and Huang Shih-hsiu had one: Nuclear Mythbusters ran with the slogan “Nuclear energy is green energy,” sizing it up against a future coal-fired dystopia and dismissing the present-day viability of affordable renewables, all while cutting through the opposing stance that nuclear power is an environmental crisis waiting to happen.

This approach has always been effective, but it’s especially potent in the digital age, says Dion Curry, senior lecturer of public policy at Swansea University. Public figures with “little political power, but immense media power” – he cites Brexit’s Nigel Farage as an example – can strategically reach voters through targeted Facebook ads and participation in social media “echo chambers,” he says………. https://thediplomat.com/2019/01/how-direct-democracy-went-nuclear-in-taiwan/

January 21, 2019 Posted by | politics, Reference, Taiwan | 1 Comment

Covert nuclear development in Taiwan was stopped, because a senior scientist feared danger

Colby Cosh: How Canada almost left the door to the nuclear club ajar … again, National Post, 14 Jan 19, 

Covert nuclear development in Taiwan was finally stopped cold because a senior scientist became convinced nukes were dangerous 

Maybe you have heard the story of how India got the Bomb with Canada’s inadvertent help. We sold India a nuclear reactor called CIRUS in 1954 on an explicit promise that the facility would only be used for peaceful purposes. When India astonished the world with its first nuke test in May 1974, having upgraded the fuel output from CIRUS, it duly announced that it had successfully created a Peaceful Nuclear Explosive. The permanent consequence was, for better or worse, a nuclear-armed Subcontinent.This is old news to enthusiasts of Cold War history. Here’s the new news: it almost happened twice. Canadian technology was almost used by another country to break into the nuclear club.

In November, historians David Albright and Andrea Stricker published a new book called Taiwan’s Former Nuclear Weapons Program: Nuclear Weapons On-Demand. The book pulls together the previously sketchy story of Nationalist China’s covert nuclear research, which had its roots in the postwar exodus of Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang party (KMT). Albright and Stricker describe decades of effort by the offshore Republic of China on Taiwan to play a double game with nuclear weapons. ………

The key to the story is the 40-megawatt uranium-fuelled Taiwan Research Reactor (TRR), supplied, like CIRUS, by Canada. TRR was very similar to CIRUS in design and capability. The pile went critical in January 1973, giving Taiwan an indigenous source of plutonium. Under the sales agreement, the reactor was to be “safeguarded” by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), answering to its inspectors and accounting for the whereabouts of its fuel. But Taiwanese nuclear agencies immediately began to behave suspiciously, talking to some of the slimier European industrial concerns about buying reprocessing equipment that would allow weapons manufacture

……….Covert nuclear development in Taiwan was finally stopped cold because one of the Republic’s senior scientists, Chang Hsien-yi, became convinced that nukes were dangerous to the existence of the Republic……….  Email: ccosh@postmedia.com | Twitter:       https://nationalpost.com/opinion/colby-cosh-how-canada-almost-left-the-door-to-the-nuclear-club-ajar-again

January 15, 2019 Posted by | politics, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Taiwan Food Imports from Fukushima-Affected Areas Become Wedge Issue with Japan

Japanese government keeps on trying to ram food exports from Fukushima radiation affected areas down the throats of their Asian neighbors ….
CJCS_meets_with_Japan_Prime_Minister_Shinzo_Abe_36478259912.jpg
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe
December 17, 2018
IT IS UNSURPRISING that Taiwan will not be admitted to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CFTPP) because of the referendum vote against food imports from Fukushima-affected areas held in late November concurrent with nine-in-one elections. Namely, the issue of food imports is one upon which Taiwan has long been pushed around by larger, more powerful countries, who dangle the threat of being denied admittance to international free trade agreements if Taiwan does not allow food imports.
The Abe administration has in the past made allowing food imports from Fukushima-affected areas a condition for stronger diplomatic relations with Japan. This would be part of a more general effort by the Abe administration to promote the prefecture of Fukushima as safe, with concerns that lingering radiation may still cause harmful effects in the region after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The Abe administration has thus attempted to promote food exports from the area, as well as to encourage tourism to the area.
Concerns over whether food from Fukushima is safe are valid, seeing as this is an issue of contention in Japan itself. Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is deeply wedded to the Japanese nuclear industry, with an unusual willingness to push for nuclear energy in spite of outbreaks of large-scale public protest. Concerns have also been longstanding that the LDP has been unwilling to provide accurate nuclear assessments for the Fukushima area, or sought to mislead through official statistics.
After the results of the referendum in late November, in which 7,791,856 voted against allowing food imports from Fukushima, the Japanese government initially expressed understanding regarding the results of the referendum, suggesting that not allowing food imports from Fukushima would not be an obstacle for Japan-Taiwan relations going forward. However, this appears to have not entirely been the truth.
Indeed, as the KMT was a powerful force behind the push for the referendum, it is likely that the KMT sought to use the issue of food imports from Fukushima-affected areas as a means to not only to attack the DPP with the accusation that it was endangering public safety but also sabotage closer relations between Japan and Taiwan. Apart from that the KMT’s Chinese nationalism has a strong anti-Japanese element, the KMT is pro-unification and so opposes closer ties between Japan and Taiwan, seeing as Japan could be a powerful regional ally that interceded on behalf of Taiwan against Chinese incursion.
The CFTPP is a regional free trade agreement that is the form that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) took on after America withdrew from the trade agreement under Donald Trump. Despite the fact that the TPP was orchestrated under American auspices as a means to counter growing Chinese influence in the Asia-Pacific region, the Trump administration favored protectionism instead of free trade, seeing free trade as overextending American resources rather than expanding its economic reach.
Japan subsequently became the dominant power among former TPP signatories, continuing to push for the agreement because it was still beneficial to Asia-Pacific nations to economically integrate as a regional bloc against the threat of China.
This would not be the first time that food imports have been used as a condition of Taiwan’s admittance to or denial from the TPP framework. America previously made allowing American beef imports into Taiwan to be a condition of Taiwan’s possibly entering into the TPP, seeing as there were in concerns in Taiwan that the use of the hormone ractopamine—banned in most of the world’s countries but not in America—was unsafe. This, too, was a valid concern regarding food safety, but the KMT was interested in the issue because it hoped to use this as a wedge issue to sabotage relations between Taiwan and the US.
Now that Japan is the primary driving force behind the CFTPP, as the renewed version of the TPP, food imports from Fukushima-affected areas have taken priority as the issue which would determine Taiwan’s admittance or non-admittance to the CFTPP. As free trade agreements are more generally a way for large, powerful countries to coerce smaller, weaker countries into relations of economic subordination, this would be nothing surprising.
More generally, free trade agreements have also long been held over the heads of Taiwanese voters in order to influence how they vote, as observed in the examples of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement or the Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement under the Ma administration. But in light of the issue of food imports from Fukushima-affected areas being a contested issue in Taiwan, it remains to be seen whether the CFTPP will become a significant wedge issue in Taiwanese politics going forward.

December 20, 2018 Posted by | Taiwan | , , | Leave a comment