Taiwan welcomed yesterday Japan's decision to issue a visa to former president Lee Teng-hui (
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda announced in a press conference that Tokyo agreed to allow Lee to travel to Japan as a private citizen after he promised not to engage in any political activities during his stay.
Tokyo notified Beijing of its decision on Wednesday, Hosoda said. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi later told reporters that Japan had no reason to reject Lee's visa application but stressed Japan wanted to continue developing its relationship with China.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao (
"We demand that the Japanese side revoke such a decision immediately. Otherwise it will of, course, have a negative impact on relations between China and Japan," Liu said, adding the visit was "by no means personal or one of nostalgia."
"I think his activities in Japan constitute a provocation against the reunification of China and we are strongly opposed to all kinds or forms of connivance with such activities," Liu said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei welcomed Japan's decision. Gary Lin (
The Japan Interchange Association (JIA) in Taipei said yesterday Lee has not filed his visa application yet.
"He might take the trip at the end of this year," an official at the association said.
Japanese media reported Lee might travel to the Kansai area, famous for its hot springs.
The Central News Agency quoted a close friend of Lee as saying that Lee has not decided whether to take the trip at the end of the year because his wife Tseng Wen-hui (
Lee once said he wished to bring Taiwan's Aboriginal children to Japan to perform singing and dancing when campaigning for the Taiwan Solidarity Union's (TSU) legislative candidates, according to the agency.
"It has been former president Lee's hope to visit Japan and the US, particularly Japan," said TSU Secretary General Lin Jih-jia (
Lee's visit to Japan would be his first since he received treatment for a heart condition at a Japanese hospital in 2001. At that time, Tokyo said it had granted Lee entry to Japan in 2001 on "humanitarian grounds."