Tue, Jun 12, 2018 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Beijing concerned over Taipei 2020’s reach

Hideki Nagayama, the director of the Taiwan 2020 Campaign Council and chairman of the Taiwan Research Forum, in an interview with ‘Taipei Times’ staff reporter Huang Tai-lin said that the campaign has made Beijing anxious due to its outreach and appeal to Japanese, and that China is concerned about the extent of the campaign’s effects, while acknowledging pro-China and China-phobic tendencies in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly

A member of the Tokyo-based Taiwan 2020 Campaign Council speaks through a loudspeaker at a petition stand at the Keisei Ueno station in Tokyo on June 2.

Photo courtesy of Taiwan 2020 Campaign Council director Hideki Nagayama

Taipei Times (TT): From the initiative that you launched years ago that ended up allowing Taiwanese living in Japan to list “Taiwan” as their nationality instead of “China,” to the campaign promoting Taiwan’s participation in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics under the name “Taiwan” instead of “Chinese Taipei,” why are you, a Japanese, so supportive of the efforts to rectify Taiwan’s name in the international arena?

Hideki Nagayama:It first came to my attention in 2003 that Taiwan was listed as “China” on the alien registration cards issued by the Japanese Ministry of Justice. I found it to be unreasonable, but my demand for a correction was rejected by the ministry, despite the ministry being aware that Taiwan does not belong to China and that the Japanese government does not recognize Taiwan as a part of China.

It appeared to me that the ministry was afraid of incurring China’s anger by making such a correction.

That was when I realized the severity of the pressure China exerts on other nations.

The Japanese government in 2012 replaced the alien registration cards with resident cards for foreigners who had been granted residency, and along with the change it allowed Republic of China passport holders living in Japan the option of choosing “Taiwan” as their nationality if they preferred.

As for the campaign pushing for Taiwan’s national team to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics under the name “Taiwan,” I see it as Japan’s own domestic matter.

As soon as the International Olympic Committee [IOC] announced that Tokyo had won the bid to host the 2020 Olympics, I thought that Taiwan’s name should be rectified when it participates in the Games.

My friends and I launched an online petition for this, and people in Taiwan later joined in. The petition has so far collected more than 100,000 signatures.

However, we were unsure of the effectiveness of the online petition, so we changed methods and started collecting petition forms, which we will submit to the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly once completed.

Now, back to the question of why do I, a Japanese, support Taiwan’s name rectification movement:

First of all, I love Taiwan.

Second, Taiwanese have been so kind to Japan by rushing to our help in the wake of the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami — now it is time for us to help Taiwan.

Third, there are still quite a number of people in Japan who are under the impression that Taiwan is a part of China. This misconception is very dangerous, as China tries to justify its attempts to annex Taiwan with its “one China” claim.

By taking the Taiwan 2020 Campaign to the streets of Tokyo we want people to know that Taiwan belongs to Taiwanese and it is not a part of China.

TT: Has the campaign encountered any threats or verbal attacks from Chinese passers-by on the street of Tokyo?

Nagayama: Yes. There are Japan-based Chinese or Chinese tourists who would approach us with their “sense of justice,” saying: “Why are you Japanese meddling in China’s affairs?”

We respond by asking: “Could you please tell me since when has Taiwan become a part of Chinese territory?” to which they have no answer.

When we first launched the petition, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office issued a statement saying that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics should be held in accordance with IOC rules. It is obviously afraid, because members of the Japanese public as well as the international community are the main targets of our campaign, and China is afraid of the extent that our campaign might reach.

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