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Ex-president has no plans to meet with PM during Japan visit

2014/08/12 22:16:51

Flier of planned speeches by former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui in Japan in September.

Tokyo, Aug. 12 (CNA) A planned Japan visit by former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui has raised eyebrows over whether the 91-year-old would meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe -- speculation that the group behind the visit sought to dismiss Tuesday.

Reporters raised the question at a press conference in Tokyo held by Shiro Odamura, head of a Japanese group of supporters called the Friends of Lee Teng-hui Association, and Masataka Yuhra, an official in the organization.

Asked about whether the veteran Taiwanese politician will meet Abe, both Odamura and Yuhra said they have not heard of any intentions for such a meeting.

Yuhra further said he has not heard that Lee, who was educated in Japan and served as Taiwan's president from 1988 to 2000, wants to pay respects to his late brother, who died fighting on the side of Japan during World War II when Taiwan was a Japanese colony, and was enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.

Lee paid a visit to the controversial shrine -- home to many Japanese war dead including some convicted war criminals -- in 2007, prompting complaints from China.

Speaking on Lee's Sept. 19-25 itinerary, they said the former president will hold a press conference himself upon arriving at Kansai International Airport in Osaka, his first stop.

He is scheduled to deliver a speech in that city the following day and then head to Tokyo Sept. 21 for another speech and to tour renewable energy facilities.

His last stop is Hokkaido on Sept. 23, where he will visit livestock breeding and dairy businesses.

Lee will be accompanied by his wife Tseng Wen-hui, his two daughters, his personal doctor and assistants from the Lee Teng-hui Foundation, which he founded to promote democracy and local culture.

As for the content of Lee's planned speeches, Odamura said they will focus on a call for Tokyo to set up a Japanese version of the Taiwan Relations Act, an United States law that defines non-diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the "people on Taiwan."

Yuhra noted that in an article for Japanese monthly Voice 6, Lee urged the Abe government to pay attention to three issues: the implementation of the Taiwan-Japan fishery agreement, the transfer of state-of-the-art cancer treatment technologies to Taiwan, and the formation of a Japanese version of Taiwan Relations Act.

Lee, the first democratically elected president of Taiwan and an outspoken supporter of Taiwanese independence, last visited Japan in September 2009. The upcoming tour will be his sixth visit to Japan since he stepped down as president in May 2000.

(By Yang Ming-chu and Elizabeth Hsu)