TAIPEI (Kyodo) — Voters in Taiwan approved a referendum Saturday to maintain a ban on food products from five Japanese prefectures, imposed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, dealing a major blow to the government of President Tsai Ing-wen and the island’s relations with Japan.
The Central Election Commission website showed that a total of 7.79 million approved the initiative, well over the 25 percent required out of 19.76 million eligible voters, against 2.23 million votes in opposition.
The referendum result is legally binding and government agencies must take necessary action.
The result dealt a significant blow to the Democratic Progressive Party government that proposed easing the ban after coming to power in May 2016, but backed away when the main opposition Nationalist Party (KMT) questioned the new government’s ability to ensure the safety of the imported products.
China is the only other country still restricting comprehensive imports from Fukushima Prefecture and nearby Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi, and Chiba prefectures.