A majority of Japanese support Taiwan becoming a member of the UN, a new opinion poll commissioned by the Government Information Office (GIO) showed yesterday.
The poll, conducted by an polling agency based in Japan, questioned 1,000 adults across Japan between Oct. 12 and Oct. 14.
When asked whether Taiwan should be offered UN membership, 74 percent of respondents said that it should, while 17.2 percent disagreed, the poll results show.
In response to a question about whether they would support the nation's entry into the UN under the name "Taiwan" if the campaign is supported via a referendum, the positive figure jumped to 81.2 percent, with 12.6 percent disapproving.
Asked whether Japan should respect a decision made by a majority of voters in a democratic way, 89.2 percent said yes, while 7.7 percent said no.
However, in response to a question that specifically mentioned China's opposition to Taiwan's UN membership, 63.5 percent of respondents said they were in favor of Japan helping Taiwan to gain UN membership, while 29.5 percent opposed such help from Japan.
The GIO last month released the results of a poll conducted in the US, which showed that 55 percent of respondents agreed that Taiwan should be offered a UN seat, while 27 percent disagreed.
When asked whether the US "should not oppose" Taiwan's UN bid if "the people of Taiwan pass a referendum" in favor of UN membership, 70 percent agreed and only 17 percent disagreed.
The poll was conducted by Zogby International, a US poll company, which questioned 1,205 adults across the US between Sept. 6 and Sept. 10.
President Chen Shui-bian (
"Can we belittle ourselves when the Japanese people are giving us such strong support? We should not lack confidence [in applying for UN membership under the name `Taiwan']," he said.
Referring to opposition parties' disapproval of the government's UN proposal and the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) advocacy of a return to the UN using the name "Republic of China," Chen said the nation's biggest problem lay within its own borders.
"The results of these polls are important. The Americans will influence their congressmen on the issue, and they will then influence the White House. The US [government] was against us, but it will have to follow its public opinion to support us," Chen said.
In related news, 84 members of the European Parliament released a joint statement on Thursday to express their support for the nation's UN bid.
The members representing various political groups, who have gathered in Strasbourg, France, for the European Parliament's plenary session, said in their statement that Taiwan is a sovereign state that has never been governed by the People's Republic of China and that it is wrong and unfair for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to claim that Taiwan was part of China and deny the nation eligibility for membership.
They said that, in a report on China issued last September, the European Parliament had called for representation for Taiwan's 23 million people in international organizations, but that Taiwan still remained excluded from most of these organizations.
Calling Taiwan a full-fledged democracy with a highly developed economy that could make valuable contributions to the international community, the group urged the EU and other UN members to seriously consider Taiwan's application for UN membership.
Additional reporting by CNA