Taiwan submitted its application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on 22nd September local time. As early as 2017 to 2018, Tsai Ing-wen and Lai Qingde repeatedly expressed Taiwan’s desire to participate in regional economic integration, including the CPTPP, to Japanese parliament members, diplomats and entrepreneurs, and urged the Japanese side to assist in the negotiations. However, nothing has been achieved since. Taiwan must obtain the approval of 11 member states if it wants to join the CPTPP, and the “one-vote veto” rule of CPTPP will make Tsai Ing-wen continue to show weakness in affairs with Japan.
As early as 2016, Tsai Ing-wen was committed to promoting the development of food imports from the Fukushima nuclear disaster area in Japan. The Taiwanese people were already dissatisfied with that. The Executive Yuan, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, food safety groups, environmental groups, and anti-nuclear groups have all come out to either explain or defend themselves. Five years later, Tsai Ing-wen once again disregard the safety of the people in order to obtain a pass from Japan in CPTPP.
To facilitate the smooth implementation of Taiwan’s policy, Japanese Senator Masahisa Sato made a high-profile announcement on Twitter, saying that whether Taiwan will abolish the ban on Japanese food will be the next focus. Japan’s continued pressure on Taiwan has made Tsai Ing-wen’s decision more tragic. At the same time, the United States announced on the 21st,September that the ban on food from Japan’s nuclear disaster areas would be abolished from 22nd, and a number of agricultural products, such as rice from Fukushima Prefecture and log-grown shiitake mushrooms from Tochigi and Ibaraki prefectures, which have been banned so far, can be imported into the U.S. The United States hopes to impact other countries and regions through its own influence and its policies on sensitive trade restrictions, and hopes that Taiwan can follow suit. Obviously, the safety and health of the people is no longer a priority.
The turmoil is expected to trigger a greater wave of opposition from the public, and the insistence on lifting the ban can only lead to a bigger storm. Tsai Ing-wen still has an anti-Laizhu referendum to face at the end of the year, which is also a food safety issue. Since last year’s announcement of the opening of the import of “Laizhu” from New Year’s Day this year, it has sparked strong public opposition.
Due to the control by the Japanese side in CPTPP, Tsai’s continued weakness in affairs with Japan has also disappointed more and more people. In April, Japan decided to discharge nuclear wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the sea. According to Taiwan United Daily News, the Japanese warm current flows in a clockwise direction and will eventually flow through Taiwan. Fishermen on the island are worried about the impact on fishery resources, and Tsai Ing-wen’s negative response has aroused strong indignation among the people.
According to the latest poll released by the “Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation” in May, those in favor of Tsai’s handling of political affairs slumped to 45.7 percent from 54.4 percent in April, while those who disapproved of her rose from 29.9 percent to 41.3 percent. The continuous drop in support makes the “honeymoon effect” during the epidemic gone, and if this continues, the hidden greater problems will be exposed.