Taiwan should not be excluded from the security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region, former Japanese defense minister and Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba reportedly told Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) during a meeting.
In an interview with Taiwanese media following his breakfast meeting with Su — who is in Tokyo on a five-day visit — yesterday morning, Nobuo Kishi, an LDP senator, provided details on Ishiba’s closed-door meeting with Su on Monday, the DPP said in a press release.
The senator — the brother of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — said that Ishiba did not propose to “include Taiwan in the US-Japan Security Treaty,” but underlined that policymakers and countries should get to understand Taiwan better before assessing Asia-Pacific security situations, and Taiwan should not be ignored or excluded from any security plans.
Tokyo and Washington announced stability across the Taiwan Strait as one of their “common strategic objectives” in a bilateral security consultative committee joint statement. The announcement was interpreted in Taiwan as the basis of Japan and the US’ involvement if stability in the Taiwan Strait was threatened.
Kishi said he held similar views to those of Su, who arrived in Tokyo on Sunday with a 30-member delegation, on his proposal of a “democratic alliance” that will include Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and the US.
He added that Japan has always seen Taiwan as an important neighbor, and its relations with Taiwan as a cornerstone for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
In terms of the disputed Diao-yutai Islands (釣魚台), known as the Senkakus in Japan, Kishi said that while Japan insisted on its territorial claim, it realized the urgency of a new round of fisheries negotiations with Taiwan, and hoped that a dialogue on fishing rights and freedom of navigation would begin soon.
Kishi was among seven LDP senators and Japanese lower house representatives who met with Su yesterday morning and exchanged views on a wide range of issues, according to Liu Shih-chung (劉世忠), director of the DPP’s Department of International Affairs.
Most of the LDP politicians called for closer exchanges between the two parties, Liu said.
More than 80 of the 114 new LDP representatives in Japan’s lower house are in their 40s, suggesting that the party is undergoing a generational change, and it is important for the two parties to engage closer, Liu quoted LDP house representative Tsukasa Akimoto as saying.
Akimoto’s views were shared by LDP colleagues, such as Koichi Hagiuda and Yohei Matsumoto, Liu said.
Matsumoto highlighted Taiwan’s geographic strategic importance for Japan, as the Taiwan Strait is on the sea route for oil shipments from the Middle East to Japan, Liu said.
Liu said that the DPP had intensive exchanges with young Japanese politicians and would strengthen its ties with politicians from all parties, including the Democratic Party of Japan and the Japan Restoration Party, in the future.
The DPP delegation is scheduled to return to Taipei tomorrow.