Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡) yesterday fought back against lawmakers’ criticism that the ministry has been passive in helping Taiwanese leave Japan, saying there’s no need to evacuate Taiwanese by chartered airplanes.
“I had received many complaints. There were many Taiwanese compatriots who either had trouble leaving the -earthquake-stricken areas or booking airplane tickets. Why didn’t the ministry offer them help?” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said at the legislative Foreign and Defense Committee.
600 unaccounted for
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator John Chiang (蔣孝嚴) also asked the ministry to send more personnel to Japan to help contact the approximately 600 Taiwanese still unaccounted for.
DPP Legislator Peng Shao-chin (彭紹瑾), meanwhile, demanded Ministry of Foreign Affairs Minister Timothy Yang’s (楊進添) resignation over his previous remarks dismissing the need to evacuate Taiwanese from Japan. The government left Taiwanese in Japan without help, Peng alleged.
Denying the allegations, Shen said: “Just because the ministry did not launch a large-scale evacuation of all compatriots does not mean that we did not help Taiwanese who want to return to Taiwan.”
Citing a press release issued on Wednesday, Shen said the ministry has urged nationals to leave Japan and the ministry has made every effort to help them.
‘NO IMMEDIATE DANGER’
“There is no need to evacuate Taiwanese compatriots. Japan has 47 prefectures, with 15 prefectures under red alert and two-thirds unaffected by nuclear radiation. Tokyo is also under red alert, but there is no immediate danger there. Isn’t the emperor of Japan also still in Tokyo?” Shen said.
According to the ministry’s East Asian Relations Commission Secretary-General Huang Ming-lung (黃明朗), the number of Taiwanese living in Japan was estimated at 44,072, of which about 30,400 live in Tokyo.
“Many of our compatriots have lived in Japans for several -generations, and many of them have become naturalized citizens in -Japan,” Huang said.
Meanwhile, Sheng said yesterday that Taiwan welcomed foreign diplomats come to Taiwan if their countries closed their embassies and consulates in Japan.
Taiwan will also extend the period of stay for Japanese visitors who have trouble returning to their country to another three months, from the current 90 days, he added.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised Taiwanese requiring aid to leave Japan to contact the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Japan. Taiwanese traveling to Sapporo can contact the Representative Office there.
‧ TECRO phone numbers:
Overseas Compatriot Affairs Division director Zhao Yun-hua (趙雲華):
002-81-3-3280-7874 (03-3280-7874 if in Japan).
Overseas Compatriot Affairs Division secretary Wen Chun-fei (文君妃): 002-81-3-3280-7822 (03-3280-7822 if in Japan).
002-81-3-3280-7821(03-3280-7821 if in Japan).
002-81-3-3280-7820 (03-3280-7820 if in Japan).
002-81-3-3280-7826 (03-3280-7826 if in Japan).
002-81-80-6552-4764, 002-81-80-6557-8796 (080-6552-4764; 080-6557-8796 if in Japan).
‧ Sapporo Representative Office and emergency contact number:
002-81-11-222-2930, 002-81-80-1460-2568 (011-222-2930,080-1460-2568 if in Japan).
Sapporo Representative Office director Lee Shih-bing (李世炳): 002-81-90-8632-4286 (090-8632-4286 if in Japan).