Tue, Dec 25, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Resolution calls for Hsieh briefing on diplomat’s death

AIRPORT INCIDENT:The family of Su Chii-cherng disputed Frank Hsieh’s contention that fake news drove the Osaka office head to kill himself

Staff writer, with CNA

Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu, center, talks with Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Secretary-General Chang Shu-ling, left, during a rest break while attending a budget review meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times

The Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee yesterday passed a non-binding resolution asking the nation’s top envoy to Japan to give a briefing on the death of a Taiwanese diplomat in Osaka in September.

According to the resolution, an ad hoc legislative committee is to be formed to investigate the death of Su Chii-cherng (蘇啟誠), the former head of the Taiwanese office in Osaka.

Su was found hanging by the neck at his residence in Osaka on Sept. 14 and is believed to have committed suicide due to a controversy over his office’s response to the plight of Taiwanese tourists who were stranded at a flooded airport in Japan during Typhoon Jebi earlier in the month.

The resolution calls on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to summon Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) to brief the ad hoc committee on the circumstances surrounding Su’s death.

Hsieh and the ministry had earlier said that Su had committed suicide mainly due to a rumor spread by a netizen alleging that Taiwanese were left stranded at Kansai International Airport during the flooding after Typhoon Jebi, while the Chinese embassy there had sent 15 tour buses to evacuate Chinese citizens.

It later emerged that no vehicles other than airport shuttle buses were allowed to depart from Kansai airport while it was flooded.

Su’s family on Thursday last week released a statement contradicting the ministry’s and Hsieh’s comments, saying they had found no indication in a suicide note left by Su to support the claim that he had killed himself because he was troubled about the online rumor or the subsequent criticisms of him and his office.

The attempts to attribute Su’s suicide to “fake news and rumors” were “intentionally misleading” and damaging to his reputation, his family said.

Local media reports said that Su and 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 telephone calls from Hsieh and his superior, Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Secretary-General Chang Shu-ling (張淑玲), asking him to take responsibility for the matter.

Su was asked to return to Taiwan and agree to a demotion, at the directive of Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), the reports said.

Wu denied the reports yesterday, saying he did not give instructions for Chang to recall Su and there were no plans to penalize Su or the staff of the Osaka office.

Chang and Hsieh on Friday last week made similar statements, denying that they had called Su to talk to him about punishment in the wake of the controversy over the stranded Taiwanese tourists at the airport.

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