The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday called on the Japanese government and Japanese politicians to face up to the facts of history and to learn lessons from the past rather than engage in acts that hurt the feelings of the people of neighboring countries.
In response to a visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine by Japanese Minister of Internal Affairs Yoshitaka Shindo and Japan’s National Public Safety Commission Chairman Keiji Furuya yesterday, the anniversary of Japan’s World War II defeat, the ministry in Taipei issued a very short statement of just one paragraph.
“The government of the Republic of China hopes that the Japanese government and its politicians will develop friendly relations with neighboring countries, with visionary thinking and a responsible attitude,” the ministry said in the statement.
Separately yesterday, several dozens of people set a model paper Izumo-class ship on fire in protest against Japan’s claim to sovereignty over the contested Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), known as the Senkakus in Japan, outside the building of the Interchange Association, Japan, in Taipei.
Last week, Japan launched its largest military ship since World War II, the 19,500-tonne Izumo, at a ceremony in Yokohama.
The destroyer, which will be helicopter-equipped, will be deployed by the Maritime Self-Defense Force in March 2015.
Chang Chun-hong (張俊宏), a former lawmaker of the Democratic Progressive Party who now leads an alliance calling on Japan to return the Diaoyutai Islands to Taiwan, said it would be “a declaration of war against China” when Japan launches the destroyer for a maiden run and “the Diaoyutai Islands would become the battlefield.”
The destroyer symbolizes Japanese imperialism and is a provocative act that threatens peace and stability in East Asia, Chang said.
“Only when Japan returns the Diaoyutai Islands to Taiwan can peace be sustained,” he said.
Chang filed a lawsuit for conversion and tort against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over the issue of the Diaoyutai Islands in the Yilan District Court in June, seeking NT$2 million (US$66,749) in compensation.
Yilan District Court on Wednesday decided to dismiss the case, while Chang said yesterday that he did not rule out the possibility of suing Abe in Japan over the matter.
A former DPP lawmaker Payen Talu, an Aborigine of Atayal tribe, said that the Diaoyutai Islands were traditional territory of Kuvalan tribe, urging Japan to give back the islands to Taiwan’s indigenous people who occupied the land long before the islands were discovered by China and Japan.