Group blasts Japan Diet members for asking PM to oppose Taiwan independence

A Tokyo-based overseas Taiwanese organization blasted two Japanese lawmakers on Tuesday for their recent attempts to get Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to publicly oppose Taiwan independence.

In a statement, the All Japan Taiwanese Union (????????) criticized two Diet members from the Democratic Party of Japan, Yoshinori Suematsu and Katsuya Okada, for their attempts to get Kishida to speak up about the issue during two separate Diet sessions on Oct. 17 and Nov. 29, respectively.

According to the union, which is a coalition of Taiwan groups in Japan, during the Nov. 29 session, Suematsu asked Kishida to publicly oppose Taiwan independence.

Previously during the Oct. 17 session, Okada, a former Japanese foreign minister, asked Kishida to voice a stance on the issue too.

“If Taiwanese think that declaring independence is supported [by Japan], more Taiwanese will be encouraged to do so,” he said.

He cited U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken as saying that Washington does not support the independence of Taiwan, calling on Kishida to go on the record in the Diet in opposing Taiwan independence.

In response to Okada’s call, Kishida said that Japan and Taiwan were important partners with shared values.

Based on the Japan-China Joint Communiqué signed in 1972 when Japan recognized the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Japan only maintained practical but unofficial relations with Taiwan, he said.

Kishida then reiterated Tokyo’s stance, saying that maintaining cross-Taiwan Strait peace and stability is important, while hoping that bilateral disputes can be resolved through peaceful dialogue.

In its statement on Tuesday, the union accused the two members of the Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition party in Japan, of interfering in Taiwan’s internal affairs while disregarding the rights and sentiments of Taiwanese people.

“Their remarks are ridiculous and unbearable,” the union said in the statement.

The union cited U.S. President Joe Biden’s interview with CBS on September 18 in which he said “we [the U.S.] are not moving – we’re not encouraging – their being independent. That’s their decision.”

Quoting Biden’s words, the union said the U.S. stance on the matter respected and upheld the principles of “national self-determination.”

The union accused Okada of misinterpreting the U.S. stance on the Taiwan independence issue.

It, therefore, issued its strongest protest to both Japanese lawmakers “who were speaking as if they were proxies for the PRC,” while urging them to retract their statements on the issue and apologize to the Taiwanese people.

Commenting on the union’s protest letter, Taiwan’s top envoy to Japan Frank Hsieh (???) told media in Tokyo on Tuesday that Kishida had shown wisdom by not giving a direct answer to the question.

Hsieh also reminded the two lawmakers that Beijing now not only opposes Taiwan independence but also the cross-strait status quo.

They continue to warn Taiwan of potential military conflict if the latter does not unite with China, according to Hsieh.

The envoy said he believed that the two Japanese lawmakers had asked Kishida to say so for the security of Japan because they believed Japan would be put into a dangerous situation because of Taiwan and its tensions with China.

Hsieh claimed that Japan was the main enemy of the PRC instead of Taiwan due to Chinese people’s “widespread anti-Japan sentiment.”

The Tokyo side should face up to this “reality” as Beijing would make Tokyo its “No. 1 target” to divert attention from domestic troubles, in particular because there are U.S. military bases in Japan, he said.

As such, Taiwan and Japan should engage in talks on how to evacuate each other’s nationals if a war breaks out across the Taiwan Strait or between China and Japan, said Hsieh.

Currently, there is no direct government-to-government channel on this issue, he said, calling on both sides to immediately begin talks by first establishing two-way disaster relief cooperation.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel