Thu, Feb 21, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Lee Teng-hui’s office denies report that he influenced Japanese prime minister

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The office of former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday denied a report depicting Lee as the mastermind behind Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent policy to depreciate the yen.

The Chinese-language Next Magazine yesterday reported that Lee had regularly given Abe advice, including on depreciating the yen, since the Japanese leader’s meeting with him in September 2011.

The magazine said that Abe sent former Japanese defense minister Fumio Kyuma as an emissary for a two-hour meeting with Lee in Taiwan late last month.

It also alleged that Lee had given Kyuma a private letter to deliver to Abe.

Wang Yan-chun (王燕軍), director of Lee’s office, said the report about the former president’s interaction and exchanges with Abe was incorrect.

While Lee has always viewed depreciating the Japanese yen and the New Taiwan dollar as an effective tool to stimulate sluggish economies both in Japan and Taiwan, and had discussed his views with some Japanese politicians, Lee had never made policy proposals to Abe, Wang said.

“It would not be a respectable practice to [proscribe policy matters] to any foreign official,” he said, adding that Kyuma was not an emissary and that the alleged private letter never existed.

The Japanese yen has depreciated from about ¥80 to the US dollar in mid-December last year, when Abe won the general election, to about ¥94 to the US dollar at present.

According to the report, Lee proposed an exchange rate of between ¥130 to ¥140 to the US dollar, which he said would benefit Japan’s exports.

In related news, Lee’s office has been looking at locations to build a Lee Teng-hui Memorial Library, which would be a 2,000 ping (6,600m2) multifunctional complex.

The office also said that the former president, 90, is planning a visit to Japan in May this year.

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