The Japanese government has agreed in principle to a planned visit to the country next month by former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), a Japanese TV report said yesterday.
According to Japan's public station NHK, the Japanese government has made the decision based on the judgement that Lee is visiting the country for sightseeing purposes and has no intention of engaging in political activities.
As Japan has offered visa-free entry for Taiwanese tourists since last September, the Japanese government is still reviewing if Lee, as a civilian, is required to apply for a visa for his upcoming visit, the report said.
Even if a visa is required, the Japanese government is expected to issue it promptly, it added.
Lee first indicated his intent to visit Japan next month during a news conference on Sunday in Kaohsiung.
Lee then declined to provide details but said the timing would be sensitive since it may coincide with the election of a new Japanese prime minister to succeed Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
It will be Lee's third trip to Japan since his retirement in May 2000. He visited Okayama Prefecture in April 2001 to receive medical treatment for heart disease and made a second trip in December 2004 and January last year to several Japanese cities, including Nagoya and Kyoto.
Lee had originally planned to visit Japan again in May this year but ended up cancelling the trip after catching a mild case of tuberculosis.