Taiwan News: Govt Moves to Placate Japan Over Food Import Ban

Taiwan News: Govt Moves to Placate Japan Over Food Import Ban
Credit: Reuters / TPG
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Minister without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) has said the government is continuing to seek ways to amend ties with Tokyo in the wake of the referendum to maintain a ban on food imports from areas of Japan affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The statement comes amid concern the outcome of the ballot has dealt a serious blow to bilateral ties, and dented Taiwan's possible participation in regional and international trade blocs.

According to Deng, Japan is doing a good job presenting the origin of their exported food products, and also has multiple checks in place before selling food products from areas in Japan affected by the nuclear disaster to make sure they are safe to eat.

Deng said Taiwan should work together to come up with a united front, or at least make room for "rational discussion," over the referendum result.

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono has warned his government will not rule out the possibility of filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization over the ban, and suggested that Taiwan may also be unable to join the Japan-led Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) as a result of the referendum.

Taiwan's government is pushing hard to prepare for the possibility of joining the CPTPP, with Premier William Lai having this summer pushed the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the National Communications Commission, and Ministry of Transportation and Communications to accelerate the pace of legislation necessary to conform with the terms of the agreement.

Taiwan in October also voluntarily declared itself a "developed economy" under the World Trade Organization, changing its self-designation from "developing" member status in part as a means to smoothing the path to CPTPP membership.

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The head of the National Immigration Agency has been removed from his post amid allegations of misappropriation of funds.

The Ministry of the Interior said Jeff Yang (楊家駿) has been transferred to the position of senior councilor at the agency because the alleged misconduct "damaged the image of the government and negatively impacted the impression of public officials."

According to Deputy Interior Minister Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), Yang has also been placed under investigation, and any further adjustments to his position will be made following the outcome of the probe.

The statements follow a report by Mirror Media that said Yang was accompanied by his wife on two trips to southern Taiwan in October and November for business purposes, but the trips were primarily personal in nature.

The report also said Yang claimed reimbursement for his personal expenses during the trips.

Yang is denying any wrongdoing, and said although his wife traveled with him in a government vehicle in Kaohsiung and Pingtung and didn't pay for her own meals, she did pay for high speed rail tickets and for her accommodation expenses in excess of allowable reimbursements.

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談去留  陳菊:總統需要  我不會逃避
Photo Credit: 中央社
Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu is speaking up on behalf of the government's cross-Strait policy.

Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊) has defended the government's cross-Strait policies.

According to Chen, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) will not sacrifice Taiwan's sovereignty and dignity for economic benefits while pursuing the peaceful development of relations with China.

The statement is in response to questions about baker Wu Pao-chun (吳寶春), who took it upon himself earlier this week to release a statement saying he was born in "Taiwan, China" after Chinese netizens accused him of being pro-Taiwan independence.

Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker Jason Hsu (許毓仁) said Wu was forced to show his stance on the matter as the government did not come forward and speak for him.

Speaking at a legislative committee hearing, Chen said cross-Strait relations develop in a bilateral, not unilateral manner, and mutual understanding, more dialogue and common ground must be sought if ties with China are to improve.

Acting Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) said Wu's case shows that China is not a democratic and free society, and cross-Strait exchanges should be carried out on an equal footing and without any preconditions.

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President Tsai is slated to hold talks with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) this afternoon at the Taipei Post Office.

Taipei City Government spokesman Liu Yi-ting (劉奕霆) said Tsai will be accompanied by several Cabinet officials, and the talks will focus on cooperation between the central and city governments.

According to Liu, the venue for the talks was proposed by the Presidential Office, as it is located adjacent to the now renovated North Gate, a project initiated by Ko.

Today's meeting is Tsai's first with the re-elected and newly elected heads of the island's six special municipalities.

All of the meetings are expected to be held before the new mayors are sworn-in on Dec. 25.

Taipei_post_office
Credit: Wikipedia
The historic Taipei Post Office building will host the meeting between President Tsai and Mayor-elect Ko this afternoon.

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Taiwan's delegation to the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland is meeting with participants on the sidelines of the event to share the country's experience in using technology to tackle climate change.

Although Taiwan is not a signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement, members of its delegation have already met with representatives of St. Kitts and Nevis, Belize, the Solomon Islands, and Guatemala – all of which are diplomatic allies of Taiwan.

According to TaiwanICDF Deputy Secretary General Alex L. J. Shyy (史立軍), Taiwan has helped its allies to keep abreast of climate change and establish an early warning system for flooding, using images sent back from its Formosat-5 satellite.

Taiwan's delegation to the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is being led by Acting Environmental Minister Tsai Hung-teh (蔡鴻德).

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The Supreme Court has upheld a five-year prison sentence against Lu Chung-chi (呂忠吉), a lead organizer of the 2015 "Color Play Asia" party at the Formosa Fun Coast water park in New Taipei's Bali District, at which 15 people died following an an incendiary accident.

The explosion, which caused injuries to 450 other people and resulted in more than 100 people entering intensive care, was caused by a colored powder used to produce special effects.

The court ruled that in addition to serving his five-year sentence, Lu must also pay a fine a NT$90,000 (US$2,920) for professional negligence.

Lu filed the appeal after he was convicted and sentenced in May by the High Court, which found him responsible for the explosion.

Formosa Fun Coast Chairman Chen Po-ting (陳柏廷) is still under investigation by the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office, though it has dropped its charges of professional negligence against him.

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The Air Force is scheduled to take delivery of its first four upgraded F-16 fighter jets at the end of March next year.

According to Air Force Chief of Staff Jen-yuan (劉任遠), the timeframe is based on the fact that training, manpower and technology transfer was lagging slightly behind schedule and that rust was also found on the aircraft.

The fighters are part of a NT$129.6-billion upgrade program to transform Taiwan's 143 F-16 A/B jets into F-16Vs by 2023.

Lockheed Martin sent engineers to Taiwan last year to help train local personnel at the state-owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation on how to perform the upgrades.

The upgrade includes installing advanced equipment in the fighters, including the active electronically scanned array radar system, improvements to the aircraft's electronic warfare suite and avionics and the integration of new precision-guided weapons.

RTX2416O
Credit: Reuters / TPG
A Taiwan Air Force US-made F-16 fighter jet gets washed after a drill at the Chiayi Air Force base, southern Taiwan.

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The National Taiwan Library in New Taipei's Zhonghe District has lodged a protest with Google for taking too long to change back its Chinese name after it was maliciously altered on Google maps.

Library Director Cheng Lai-chang (鄭來長) said he lodged a protest with Google management Tuesday morning after the library's name in Chinese had been changed to "China Taipei Library" both on Google maps and on its information page.

According to Cheng, the name "China Taipei Library" in Chinese on Google maps had been removed by 3 p.m. that day, but the name shown on the information page was not changed until about 4:30 p.m.

The incident comes after the Chinese language name for the "National Taipei University on Taipei campus" was altered to "Taipei campus of the China Taiwan Taipei University" on Google maps in September.

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A Tesla sedan on autopilot has crashed into two police patrol cars on National Freeway No. 3.

There were no casualties in the accident.

Police said the driver of the Tesla Model S turned on its autonomous driving assistant system shortly after entering the north-bound lane on the Hsinchu section of the freeway.

The incident occurred as four traffic police were dealing with an accident on the inside lane and the two police vehicles were parked on the side of the road.

The driver was fined for failing to pay attention to the road while driving.

It is the first reported traffic accident involving a Tesla automated vehicle in Taiwan.

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Germany's top envoy to Taiwan has unveiled a commemorative plaque at the former site of the German Empire's consulate in Taiwan.

German Institute Taipei Director-General Thomas Prinz unveiled the plaque on a wall outside the Zhongxiao Junior High School located in Taipei's Dadaocheng District.

The school is built on the former site of the consulate of the German Empire in Formosa, which was opened in 1895.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Prinz said he was happy to find out that the original site of the consulate has been taken over by a junior high school, where young Taiwanese are learning every day.

According to the German Institute Taipei, it found the exact location of the consulate in 2016 after several years of research.

The consulate was closed in 1908 and handed over to the Japanese administration before the building was later demolished.

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The Chinese language term for "Football World Cup" was the most popular key word used by netizens in Google Search here in Taiwan in 2018.

According to the web search engine's annual report, "Football World Cup" topped the list of 10 most-used key words in Google Search in Taiwan from December 2017 to December 2018.

It was followed by the "Story of Yan-Xi Palace," "earthquake," "sports lottery" and "Central Election Commission."

The Chinese language terms for "referendums," "Han Kuo-yu" and "vote counting " were also high on the list of the most popular key word searches.

Google first published its annual Year in Search report in 2001.

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This news bulletin was provided courtesy of International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Taiwan’s leading English-language broadcaster.

Editor: David Green (@DavidPeterGreen)

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