Sun, Jul 16, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Representative to Japan denies renaming ‘fine’

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff Reporter

Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh talks to reporters in Taipei yesterday about rumors of plans to adjust the property registration of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan.

Photo: CNA

Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday denied rumors that there are plans to adjust the property registration of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan to include “Taiwan,” saying he was “protecting our property.”

“Ever since 1972, when Japan broke off formal relations, everything that had been registered in the name of the Republic of China was completely taken over by leftist groups friendly to the Chinese Communist Party,” he said. “They took over overseas Chinese schools, student dormitories and Confucian temples, and then transferred ownership while driving us out, so there is no longer any property under the name of the ‘Republic of China’ — that is just common sense.”

“Not only is no property registered to the Republic of China, but no fine has been levied — much less ¥70 million [US$622,000]. I am protecting our property,” he said.

Internet rumors emerged earlier this month that Hsieh had been fined by the Japanese government for attempting to change the property registration of the representative office to Japan from “Republic of China” to “Taiwan.”

Hsieh yesterday said that “leftist factions” in Japan “could not wait” to take action in connection with the 45th anniversary of the establishment of relations between Japan and the People’s Republic of China, adding that he suspected the factions were responsible for initiating the rumors.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs official yesterday said that the property was registered under its public name plus the name of former representative to Japan Ma Chi-chuang (馬紀壯) with negotiations aimed at regularly changing the registration to include the name of the current representative.

In a statement on Wednesday, the ministry said there have been negotiations with Japan to change the property registration name to reflect reality, adding that the crux of the issue was whether it should enjoy special diplomatic privileges.

Without such privileges, a change in registration would require that the office pay ¥70 million for the normal registration permit tax, it said.

“Could you register any property under the name of Taiwan?” Hsieh asked rhetorically. “If you would register it as ‘national property,’ could it not be taken over by the communists?”

Name changes have been a major topic in Taiwan-Japan relations over the past year.

The former Association of East Asian Relations, through which the ministry directs the representative office in Japan, recently changed its name to the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association, while its Japanese counterpart changed its name from the “Interchange Association, Japan” to the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association.

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