The government has not decided on a location for a representative office in Sapporo, Japan, even though the office is scheduled to open this summer, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday, denying that the delay was related to elections in Japan.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) said in December that an office would be opened in Sapporo, capital of Hokkaido Prefecture. On April 28, Taiwan and Japan reached a formal agreement to open the office.
The ministry yesterday said the office would open “sometime this summer,” declining to specify when.
Peter Tsai (蔡明耀), secretary-general of the Association of East Asian Relations said the delay was not related to elections for the Japanese House of Representatives.
Previously, a senior official who asked not to be named told the Taipei Times that the delay was related to the elections and the office would formally open only after any changes to the Japanese Cabinet had been made.
“We are asking the Tokyo representative office to help us find a location for the office,” he said.
Tsai added that the association’s deputy secretary, Hsu Juei-hu (徐瑞湖), had been tapped to head the Sapporo office.
The office will be the ministry’s sixth in Japan. The others are in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Yokohama and Naha. Its main tasks will be to provide assistance to Taiwanese nationals in Japan and to Taiwanese fishing boats operating in the nearby waters of the North Pacific, as well as to help attract Japanese tourists to Taiwan, the ministry said.
Tsai also said that former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was expected to visit Taiwan this year, depending on the outcome of the elections.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA