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Taiwan’s New President Soon Meets Japanese Guests After Inauguration; Visit of Japanese lawmakers condemned by Chinese ambassador


Ichiro Ohara / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te will deliver his inaugural speech in Taipei on Monday.

TAIPEI – Taiwan’s newly inaugurated President Lai Ching-te showed the importance he attaches to Japan on Monday by having lunch with a Japanese non-partisan group and meeting with several other guests from Japan immediately after taking office .

After wrapping up his inaugural speech outside the presidential office in Taipei, Lai had a lunch meeting with members of a nonpartisan group of lawmakers promoting Japan-Taiwan friendship. During the meeting, he expressed gratitude for Japan’s support for Taiwan thus far and called for continued support.

In response, Liberal Democratic Party MP Keiji Furuya, who leads the pro-Taiwan group, said: “Japan and Taiwan share the same values ​​and we will continue to work together in the future.”

According to Furuya, the lunch was suggested by Taiwan. “This symbolizes the depth of trust and ties between Japan and Taiwan,” he said.

Lai has been emphasizing the importance of relations between Tokyo and Taipei for some time and has broad connections in Japan. In 2022, he made an unofficial visit to Japan to attend the funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

On Monday, he also met with Abe’s widow, Akie, who attended his inauguration ceremony, and expressed his joy, saying the friendship nurtured by Abe had continued to grow.

In addition, Lai met on Monday with Yasuaki Tanizaki, the head of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, Japan’s liaison organization with Taiwan, and Yohei Sasakawa, the chairman of the Nippon Foundation. Of the people Lai met individually on Monday, the largest number were from Japan.

China condemns the participation

Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wu Jianghao on Monday expressed opposition to the presence of Japan’s non-partisan group at the inauguration, saying it was a move to publicly cooperate with pro-independence forces in Taiwan.

Hayashi hopes for stronger ties

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi expressed his desire for closer cooperation with Taiwan during a news conference on Monday while discussing Lai’s inauguration.

“Taiwan is an extremely important partner because we share basic values ​​and have close economic ties and people-to-people exchanges,” he said.

Hayashi explained that Japan would maintain its non-governmental and practical relations with Taiwan. He also mentioned Taiwan’s support for areas affected by the Noto Peninsula earthquake. “Every time we have faced hardships, we have supported each other,” he said. “I hope that the friendship between Japan and Taiwan will further deepen under the leadership of President Lai.”

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