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Retired ambassador to take up post in Tokyo: MOFA

2019/01/22 11:41:42

Taipei, Jan. 22 (CNA) A retired diplomat who spent much of his career dealing with Japan will soon become Taiwan's deputy representative to Japan as part of a personnel reshuffle in that area, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced Tuesday.

Former MOFA Secretary-General Tsai Ming-yaw (蔡明耀), who has decades-long experience in dealing with issues related to Japan, has been assigned to the post to replace Kuo Chung-shi (郭仲熙), MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said.

In a phone interview with CNA, the 66-year-old Tsai, who retired from diplomatic service in July 2018, said he is now re-familiarizing himself with diplomatic issues to take on his new responsibility. He is expected to take up the post in March.

Meanwhile, Lee said Kuo is heading back to Taiwan to replace Taiwan-Japan Relations Association (TJRA) Secretary-General Chang Shu-ling (張淑玲). The TJRA is in charge of ties with Japan in the absence of formal diplomatic relations.

Chang has been appointed to serve as Taiwan's new representative to Yokohama, as the diplomat currently posted there, Chen Jyh-Hong (陳桎宏), is scheduled to retire later this month.

Lee said, however, that Chang will not head to Japan to officially assume the post until the Control Yuan has completed a required probe into the Sept. 14 suicide of the late head of Taiwan's office in the Osaka area, Su Chii-cherng (蘇啟誠).

The MOFA has attributed Su's suicide to his consternation over an internet rumor alleging that Taiwanese nationals were left stranded at flooded Kansai International Airport after Typhoon Jebi while the Chinese embassy there sent 15 tour buses to evacuate China citizens.

The rumor reflected poorly on Taiwan's efforts there, but it was later made clear that no vehicles other than airport shuttle buses were allowed to depart from Kansai airport while it was flooded.

Su's family contradicted the MOFA's theory on Dec. 20, saying there was no indication in Su's suicide note suggesting he killed himself because he was troubled by the online rumor or subsequent public criticism of him and his office.

According to his family, Su committed suicide to avoid humiliation the day before a meeting led by Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), Taiwan's top envoy to Japan, was to be held to review the incident.

According to local media reports, Su and all of his staff at the Osaka office, which has jurisdiction over the Kansai area, were facing demerits due to the airport incident.

Before his death, Su reportedly received phone calls from Chang, his superior, asking him to take responsibility for the matter.

Chang has denied the allegations and said she is now cooperating with the Control Yuan investigation into the case.

(By Joseph Yeh)
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