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Shinzo Abe's National Day message to Taiwan 'genuine': MOFA

2019/10/22 17:23:49

Photo courtesy of the Fukuoka branch of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office

Taipei, Oct. 22 (CNA) A National Day congratulatory message publicized by Taiwan's representative office in Fukuoka was a genuine document issued by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's congressional district office, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Monday, in the wake of a controversy over the source of the message.

However, the handling of the congratulatory message by the Taiwan office in Fukuoka was inappropriate, MOFA spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said at a press conference.

The controversy stemmed from a message, which bore the names of Abe and Japan Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and was prominently displayed by the Fukuoka branch of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office at its National Day reception on Oct. 4.

The message congratulated the Republic of China (Taiwan) on its National Day, wished it prosperity, and its people happiness.

Three days later, however, the Japanese government denied issuing the message.

Prime Minister Abe did not send the message, Japan Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Naoki Okada said at a press conference in Tokyo on Oct. 7, when asked about it by a Chinese reporter. The Japanese government's adheres to the joint communique signed with China in 1972, and remains committed to the one China policy, Okada said.

On Tuesday MOFA said, it had carried out a review of the controversy after the Fukuoka office submitted a report about it on Oct. 9.

"The congratulatory message was a genuine document that came from Abe's congressional district office," MOFA spokesperson Ou said, but she declined to disclose who had delivered the message to the Fukuoka office.

The Fukuoka office publicized the congratulatory message in good faith, to highlight the good relations between Taiwan and Japan and to inspire Taiwanese at home and abroad, Ou said.

However, the Fukuoka office has been reprimanded over the matter due to its lack of sensitivity to Taiwan-Japan relations, as displayed by the prominence it gave to the congratulatory message, Ou said.

She said relations between Taiwan and Japan have not been affected by the incident, as evidenced by the attendance of Abe's mother Yoko Kishi and brother Kishi Nobuo at the National Day reception hosted by the Taiwan's main representative office in Tokyo on Oct. 8.

According to Ou, Taiwan's top envoy to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) on Tuesday attended the enthronement of Japan's new Emperor Naruhito.

MOFA will submit its findings to the Cabinet on the matter of the congratulatory message, Ou said.

(By Ku Chuan and Emerson Lim)
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