Japan has recently explained that it "does not oppose" the plan to hold a referendum on its bid for a seat in the UN under the name Taiwan, but hopes the referendum will not raise tension in the Taiwan Strait, a senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said yesterday.
Japan told the ministry that it will not support the planned referendum "if it leads [Taiwan] to take unilateral action to change the `status quo,'" said Huang Ju-hou (
Huang made the remarks in an interview in response to questions about Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's comment on the UN-bid referendum during a visit he made to China last week.
The comment drew international attention and speculation, with Fukuda reported to be opposed to the holding of the referendum along with the March 22 presidential election.
Huang claimed that Fukuda's remarks on the issue were "distorted" by some foreign media outlets.
Citing Japan's mass-circulation Sankei Shimbun, Huang said Fukuda said in a Friday meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao (
After the meeting, a Japanese foreign ministry official in charge of Asia-Pacific affairs told reporters covering the meeting that "not supporting" and "opposing" have different meanings, Huang said.
In a Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs' publication on Fukuda's statement, Huang said the Japanese prime minister underlined that he will not support any attempt to unilaterally change the "status quo," and hopes the referendum will not increase cross-strait tension.
Judging from this statement, Huang said it is "obvious" that Japan "is not opposed" to the referendum.
What Japan will not support is a referendum that will change the "status quo" in the strait, Huang said.
The MOFA official said that after receiving Japan's explanation of Fukuda's remarks, MOFA expressed its understanding and reiterated that joining the UN is a common consensus and a common wish of the Taiwanese people.
The planned referendum does not touch the issue of independence and unification and will not change the "status quo," Huang said.
Huang called for the Japanese government's trust and respect for the right of the Taiwanese people to exercise their referendum rights as citizens of a democratic country.
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