Japan's decision to grant visa-free privileges for Taiwanese tourists between March 25 and Sept. 25 will not be subject to any change despite protests from China, a Japanese official said yesterday. \nAkira Chiba, assistant press secretary at Japan's Foreign Ministry, made the remarks after the Japanese Yomiuri Shimbun daily reported that Beijing has protested Japan's visa-free decision for Taiwan. \nChiba told journalists that Japan will offer visa-free privileges to Taiwanese tourists during the March-September period, to coincide with an eco-friendly world exposition to be held in the central Japanese prefecture of Aichi. \n"This will not be subject to any change simply because of Beijing's protests," Chiba said. \nJapan plans to allow Taiwanese and South Korean tourists to enter the country without a visa during this year's World Exposition, which is to be held in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, from March 25 to Sept. 25. \n"The Diet session started last Friday and will run until June 15. Some Diet members planned to propose an amendment to a law in order to launch a new visa policy for Taiwanese tourists," an official at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Tokyo said yesterday. \nThe bill could be passed in the middle of next month at the earliest if reviewed in the Diet according to the original schedule, said the official. \nAt present, Japan issues visas only to Chinese tourists from three cities and five provinces. \nDuring the exposition period, however, all Chinese citizens would be allowed to apply for Japanese visas. \nThere is no plan to extend the visa-exempt entry privilege to tourists from China because of concern that they might stay on in Japan, the Yomiuri Shimbun said. \nBeijing protested against the visa policy during a visit by Japanese Transport Minister Kazuo Kitagawa to China last week. Japanese government officials are trying to confirm Beijing's view on the matter, the paper said. \nJapan launched a campaign in 2003 to double the number of incoming tourists to 10 million annually by 2010 from around 5 million, and the exposition is seen as an opportunity to attract more visitors, particularly from other parts of Asia. \nTaiwanese and South Koreans form the two largest groups of tourists to Japan and rarely overstay visas, the paper said. \nThe Japanese government has to amend its Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act to implement a new visa policy for Taiwanese tourists. \nThe law stipulates that visa-exempt entry is only available to Japan's diplomatic allies. Although a significant number of foreign tourists arriving in Japan are from Taiwan and South Korea, Japan cannot lift the present visa restrictions because of the law.
Liya Chu (朱如茵), whose parents are New York-based Taiwanese restaurateurs, has been crowned the champion of US television cooking competition MasterChef Junior, after wowing the judges, including celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, with a feast of fusion cuisine. In the finale of the show’s eighth season, broadcast on Thursday, Chu walked away with US$100,000 after serving a spread of spiced duck breast with scallion pancakes and miso eggplant, followed by coconut pandan panna cotta with a passion fruit coulis and sesame tuille. Chu, who was 10 years old at the time of filming three years ago, faced off against then-11-year-old Grayson Price from
A university student has gained the spotlight for an interactive map he designed detailing all of China’s military bases and installations throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Soochow University music student Joseph Wen (溫約瑟), who calls himself an amateur military enthusiast, said he created the map to “help people better understand the cross-strait situation.” Wen originally posted the map online on June 14 last year, but it gained greater attention after he mentioned it during an appearance on a China Television talk show. On the show, Wen said he had gathered information on the locations from publicly available Web sites, as
RISK FACTORS: ‘We hope people can cooperate and endure it ... it is possibly the very important last mile,’ Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions and mask regulations are to remain the same next month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The center reported 42,112 new local COVID-19 cases and 85 deaths, saying that the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has dropped to a new low this month. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said that the center is keeping COVID-19 restrictions and mask regulations the same due to the local virus situation, and an increase in the number of imported cases of the new Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 of SARS-CoV-2, among other risk factors. Easing
GLOBAL STRATEGY: Indo-Pacific alliances need reinforcement to prevent Chinese occupation of Taiwan, which would threaten Japan, Hawaii and Australia, Pompeo said The US should officially recognize Taiwan as a free, independent nation and establish official diplomatic ties, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo told an event at the Hudson Institute in Washington on Friday. Every US president since Harry Truman has considered Taiwan’s existence to be of utmost importance to US national security, Pompeo said. Taiwan is a principal US partner in technology and economic matters, and if China were to capture Taiwan’s semiconductor supply chain, it would severely hamper the US economy, Pompeo said. Should China occupy Taiwan, it would severely weaken US influence in the Indo-Pacific region and its surrounding areas,