Tue, Feb 18, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan quick take

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

Japan

Koizumi lawsuit filed

More than 200 Taiwanese filed a lawsuit yesterday against the Japanese govern-ment and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi over his visits to Tokyo's contro-versial Yasukuni Shrine, a lawyer involved in the case announced. The suit was filed by 236 people, mainly relatives of Taiwanese who died in World War II, at the Osaka District Court. The suit demanded a total of Japanese Yen 2.36 million (US$19,700) in damages, or Japanese Yen 10,000 (US$83) per plaintiff in compensa-tion, saying Koizumi's visit to the shine violates Japan's Constitution, the lawyer said. On Jan. 14, Koizumi visited the shrine, which honors the 2.47 million Japanese who died in wars since 1869, including 14 Class-A war criminals. It was Koizumi's third visit to the shrine since he became prime minister two years ago. The lawyer said the plaintiffs suffered psycho-logical damage from Koi-zumi's visits to the shrine.

Environment

Cherry trees for Taiwan

A private Japanese group dedicated to promoting sakura (Japanese cherry blossom) plantation around the world has begun helping to grow more sakura trees around Taiwan, the Sankei Shumbun reported yester-day. The non-profit Ikuohkai (Japanese Sakura Cultiva-tion Society) sent 200 sakura seedlings to Taipei over the weekend, preparing for a presentation ceremony to be held today at the Ambas-sador Hotel, the report said. Ikuohkai president Tenkoko Sonoda will present the seedlings at the ceremony to former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) who will accept them on behalf of the Tai-wanese. The root of the idea of helping Taiwan grow sakura formed months ago when Tokyo socialite Kiyoko Ichimora visited Taiwan to learn Peking opera and found that many Taiwanese like the trees. Ichimora talked Sonoda into making the donation and the Ikuoh-kai decided to help grow at least 10,000 sakura trees, including a plantation near Sun Moon Lake, over the next several years, the paper reported. The first 200 seedlings will be planted at National Taiwan University's Agricultural and Forest Research Institute and later transplanted to Yangming-shan and in Hsinchu.

Diplomacy

Panamanian envoy in Taipei

Ambassador Ramel Adames, Panama's representative to the WTO, arrived in Taipei yesterday for a five-day visit. During the visit, Adames will call on Legislative Yuan Vice Speaker Chiang Ping-kun (江丙坤), Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Kau Ying-mao (高英茂) and attend a luncheon hosted by Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Hwang (黃瀧元). He will also visit the National Palace Museum, the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park and other places before departing on Friday.

Travel

New law affects visitors

Travelers to Russia should carry their immigration cards with them at all times in case of police checks, said a press release issued by the Ministry of Economic Affairs's Board of Foreign Trade yesterday. Visitors who fail to abide by the new regulation will be fined between US$70 and US$140 and could even be deported. The regulation was enacted to stem illegal immigrants from countries of the former Soviet Union because most of their nationals can enter Russia without applying for visas. Foreigners with or without visas are required to fill in immigration cards, which can now can be obtained at all Russian customs offices.

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