Post, country and constitution
After Shigeru Oda, a former vice president and judge of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Netherlands, retired in 2005, he practiced law in Japan.
On Feb. 14, 2007, Oda, representing the Taiwan government as an appellee, participated in litigation in the “Guanghualiao case.” On March 27, 2007, the Third Petty Bench of the Japanese Supreme Court ruled against the appellee, Taiwan. On April 3, 2007, four lawyers, Oda, Hataguchi Ko, Niwayama Seiichiro and Kaneko Noriyasu, held a press conference to express their surprise at seeing the court make a decision that they said showed a lack of awareness of historical facts and conflicted with a proper understanding of international law.
Oda’s book Review of the Guanghualiao Case was recently translated into Chinese. A publishing run of about 1,000 copies was distributed to people who care about Taiwan. A Chinese-language copy was also sent to Oda. Oda immediately sent a thank you letter indicating that he was sad to see a postal stamp on the package which said “Republic of China.” He said the least Taiwanese should ask for is the right to use Taiwan as their country’s name.
The name of the state-run postal company Chunghwa Post was changed in February 2007 by the government of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to “Taiwan Post,” and “Taiwan” stamps were issued. However, in August 2008, the government of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) changed the name back to Chunghwa Post and re-issued “Republic of China” stamps. Because of these actions, many foreigners began to confuse Taiwan with the Republic of China. As a result, Taiwanese find it difficult to use their own country name in the international community. This is a sad situation.
Oda insists on the reasonable application of the principles of international law and upholds justice and fairness. He deeply loves and strongly supports his second home — Taiwan. He has exerted a great deal of effort in pursuing the Guanghualiao case in the Japanese Supreme Court. For some reason, Taiwan’s representatives to Japan at the time, including Koh Se-kai (許世楷), Feng Chi-tai (馮寄台) and other government officials, had refused to work with Oda on the case. Therefore, the litigation did not proceed smoothly.
Recently, I read an article titled “When can we use our own country’s name?” by Lai Fushun (賴福順) in the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper), published on July 23 on page A17. The article reminded me about Oda’s reference to Taiwan’s post system, and national and constitutional issues. I really don’t know how to answer Lai’s questions.
So let me humbly ask Ma to please answer the above question and resolve the Guanghualiao case on behalf of the government.
Yang Liu Hsiu-hwa